Northamptonshire Law Society Bulletin www.northamptonshirelawsociety.co.uk Autumn 2018
2019 Awards Dinner See page 19 for details
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Autumn 2018 Northamptonshire Law Society
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Northamptonshire Law Society Officers & Council Members 2018 Oliver Spicer
Immediate-Past President Ika Castka
Honorary Secretary Ruth Taylor
Honorary Treasurer Lisa Garley Evans
Constituency Member & Past President Linda Lee
Council Members:David Browne
Sharine Burgess Laura Carter Caroline McGann – Past President Jabeer Miah Michael Orton Jones Karen Shakespeare Euan Temple – Past President
Co-opted Members: Afua Akom
Aimee Johns Amy Leech Lynsey Ward
Society Manager Phil Smith
Northamptonshire Law Society Ashtrees Cottage Saxon Rise Duston
Northampton NN5 6HP Tel. 01604 585653
Email: email@example.com All Council members should in the first instance be contacted through the Society Manager.
Welcome to the Autumn edition of the Bulletin. Can I first of all wish you all a very happy Christmas and a prosperous new year
Northamptonshire Law Society
The President writes... Northamptonshire Law Society’s Annual Awards will be held on the 1st March 2019
We have enlisted the help of a dedicated event sub-committee that is working hard to make this the best ceremony yet.
This year’s event also sees the addition of two features which promise to ensure a fun and memorable evening:
The council wanted to recognise the efforts of members of the industry (qualified or otherwise) that go beyond the norm and make a particular contribution to our community. So new for 2019 we have a Community Award that recognises special efforts and achievements of a community and/or charitable nature. If you know someone that goes above and beyond to help others and give to charity, let us know. I can also confirm that a friend, Tom Cunliffe of television and marine publishing fame, will be making an appearance to speak and support my selected charity – Northampton Sailability. For those of you that have not heard of Tom, he is a very well respected sailor, journalist and generally a real ‘character’. Tom tends to be very free-speaking about his travel escapades and his dubious experiences with solicitors. With Tom in attendance, the evening will certainly not be stuffy.This year will be extra special so please make your nominations, purchase your tickets and get involved!
Moving to the bulletin, I wanted this edition to show that the society really is here to assist its members wherever possible. I recently attended the National Local Law Society Conference in Leicester. The topic of mental health was one of the key focusses of the conference and brought to my attention the fantastic range of help and assistance available to us in the industry. With that in mind, and following World Mental Health Day, I wanted to highlight three particular groups that may be able to assist you if you are in need: Law Care are group that promote ‘good mental health and wellbeing in the legal community throughout the UK’. Law Care has a helpline that can be contacted on: 0800 279 6888 - www.lawcare.org.uk The Solicitors’ Assistance Scheme offers free confidential help and advice for all solicitors in England and Wales, their families and employees on any problem troubling them, whether personal or professional. We offer a lifeline to solicitors with problems by providing a fellow practitioner who will listen and help. www.thesas.org.uk
The SBA (Solicitors Benevolent Association) is an independent charity working for solicitors both past and present and their families. Every year we help hundreds of people of all ages who are in serious financial need as a result of illness, accident, redundancy or other adversity.” Please do look over the websites and share them with others. Council member Euan Temple has provided a technical update on Sales into the EU and Shoosmiths have provided an article on the significance of electronic signatures. The articles make for interesting reading and shine a light on changes to come in the law.
We also have the biographies of our council members for you to review this quarter. The aim of sharing that information is to showcase the people that represent you and council’s experience. It may be that you require specific assistance. With biographies in hand, you have a guide to where council may be able to help. If you have any learning requirements that the society can help with and/or source, please let us know. Finally, thanks must again go to Phil Smith, the society’s manager, who leaves us this quarter. I have said it numerous times, but Phil has been the life blood of the society for years. Good luck in your second retirement Phil. As ever, I hope that you enjoy the bulletin. If anything you see here excites or you want get in contact, please do let us know and get involved.
President Northamptonshire Law Society www.northamptonshirelawsociety.co.uk
Northamptonshire Law Society
Constituency Council Member’s Report December 2018 Price transparency in force from 6 December, SRA’s Digital Badge, Legal Services Board consult on removing a layer of accountability from the SRA, Legal Services Board consult in response to the SRAs lobbying to remove/reduce the Law Society levy, first steps to re-validation for solicitors
Price transparency regulations/digital badge Following pressure to implement the Competition and Marketing Authority recommendations of 2016, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) announced in October its plans to compel firms to produce costings on the website. As previously reported, from 6 December, the SRA now requires firms to publish indicative information on its charges and likely disbursements in the following areas of law: •
Residential conveyancing (Freehold sale or purchase, leasehold sale or purchase, mortgages and re-mortgages)
Probate (uncontested cases with all assets in the UK)
Motoring offences (summary only offences)
Employment tribunals (bringing or defending claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal)
Immigration (excluding asylum applications)
Debt recovery (up to £100,000)
Employment tribunals (defending claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal)
Licensing applications for business premises (new applications or varying existing licenses)
Pricing information must be displayed on the firm’s website or made available on request if it does not have a website. Firms cannot require the names or contact details of those seeking this information. The SRA has provided detailed guidance but whilst there are lines that cannot be crossed and minimum requirements imposed, there are a number of options available to firms. The government and the SRA believe these recommendations will drive down the cost of legal services but given the many ways in which the guidance can be interpreted and implemented it is difficult to see how this will assist consumers. The Law Society objected strenuously to the introduction of these rules and provided its own research that demonstrated the dangers of consumers focussing too heavily on price rather than their service requirements. It pointed out that the real difficulty is that what appears at first blush as a relatively straight forward service, can contain so many variables that impact on price, that the information provided will be meaningless to most consumers. It is possible that ultimately there will be a requirement to provide information in a format that can be accessed by price comparison websites but for the present consumers will need to wade their way through the myriad of cost information provided by different firms. Each firm that has so far complied appears to be producing information in a totally different way to the others. 6
Firms must explain what services are included within the displayed price, any services not included in the price (that consumers might reasonably expect to be included), details of the experience and qualifications of teams/individuals who will carry out the work, typical timescales and key stages of the matter and must specify whether stated prices include VAT. Despite the obvious short-comings of the proposals, the SRA made it clear in their application to the Legal Services Board (LSB) that in time this requirement will be extended to other areas of practice. THE SRA have produced a list of mandatory requirements, firms must: •
provide price information prominently, in as clear and in an understandable a format as possible.
specify whether stated prices include VAT
specify exactly what is included within the price displayed-even if you quote a fixed fee- to avoid confusion amongst consumers about what they might need to pay extra for
if firms provide a range of costs, it must set out the basis for charges, including any hourly rates and the types of factors that will determine what the final price will be.
If offering services in different ways and the delivery model impacts on the price, this must be made clear e.g. if you charge a higher fee for face-to-face services than for strictly online services.
online quote generators can be used but must produce a quote directly without requiring any additional contact, for example someone calling to discuss the quote.
Firms do not need to specify any preferential rates and provided it is clear that the prices may vary from those advertised on the web site and on what basis, it does not appear that firms are compelled to offer services at the price indicated on the web site provided that the offering does not in any way mislead the consumer. Conditional Fee and damages-based agreements have additional requirements in that firms must state on the web site the likely timescale for considering whether or not to offer such an arrangement and the cost of any such assessment. Firms will also have to provide information on additional costs that may arise in the lifetime of such an agreement, including deductions from damages. The Law Society has produced a practice note to assist firms but there are difficult choices to be made about what information to present and how to present it. In the early days of December many firms either are unaware or have chosen not to display this information on their web sites, some have even taken their web sites down. Although it is unlikely that the SRA will use heavy handed enforcement in the early months of the introduction of the Rules, it would be a significant problem for the regulator if the majority of firms refused to comply. On 6 December the SRA also launched its new ‘digital badge’ that only regulated firms can display. The SRA state that the badge is, ‘Underpinned by technology which means it will only display on websites registered to law firms we regulate, the badge
will help firms differentiate themselves from unregulated legal services providers.’ The SRA state that the badge is a response to the, ‘public’s demand for better information on the protections people get from using a regulated law firm’. The badge will be a portal to information explaining the protections offered to clients because the firm is regulated including insurance, access to the Compensation Fund, and the ability to complain to the Legal Ombudsman. Use of the badge will be mandatory for all SRAregulated firms later in 2019.
Legal Services Board (LSB) The LSB is the independent body responsible for overseeing the regulation of lawyers in England and Wales. It was established following the introduction of the Legal Services Act 2007. Over 90% of its funding is paid for by solicitors through the practising certificate. One of its functions is to approve rule changes brought by the regulators such as the SRA. In November it controversially approved the rule changes brought by the SRA. These changes were opposed not only by the Law Society but a variety of stakeholders including the LSB’s own Consumer Panel. In addition to introducing a new handbook, the SRA also plans to allow solicitors to provide unreserved legal activities to the public from unregulated businesses and to allow individual self-employed solicitors (freelancers) to offer services to the public but not from a regulated entity. Consumer protections will be reduced or removed completely and there will ultimately be damage to the brand of ‘solicitor’. The SRA argue that these steps will reduce the cost of legal services and thus ‘unmet’ need. It is likely that the new handbook will be introduced in April of 2019. Unregulated firms of this type will not of course be caught by the new price transparency rules.
The LSB seems to be taking the first steps to introduce revalidation for solicitors. In its business plan it states that, “We have noted that, unlike other professional services environments, eg healthcare, there is no regular formal assessment of practitioners during their careers beyond requirements on continuing professional development’.
Northamptonshire Law Society
Initial reaction was three-fold, a sense of bemusement by the SRA’s position when it has striven to reduce the protection offered to consumers in the face of opposition from solicitors themselves, its planned reforms that will see solicitors offering services from unregulated firms with no or very limited consumer protection, thus creating consumer confusion and concern that the profession will be asked to pay to market and promote the new digital badge, to develop an alternative to the brand of ‘solicitor’.
professional body potentially leading to small, fragmented lobby groups. In its consultation on its business plan which closes on 27 February 2019, the LSB indicates that it will revisit the income raised by the levy under section 51. The abilities of the Law Society to represent solicitors could be further curtailed.
Unfortunately, the profession is facing another year of change and uncertainty in 2019, with new obligations and a new handbook and facing a further reduction in its ability to respond to planned changes. For the avoidance of doubt, I am a volunteer and am not paid for my services in representing you, but if you do have any concerns or queries or would like to discuss any of the issues raised, I am always very happy to hear from you
Linda Lee December 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 LSB is also consulting on changes to the Internal Governance Rules (IGRs). These are the rules that the LSB has made setting out the requirements to be met by approved regulators in ensuring an adequate split between their regulatory and representative functions. Under the Legal Services Act, the original intention was that regulation would remain ‘profession led’. The SRA would make rules and enforce those rules independently but the Law Society as frontline regulator would have oversight and for example scrutinise and approve its budget and spend. In the intervening years, the LSB has eroded the ability of the Law Society to exercise any oversight function and in May of this year sanctioned the Law Society for following rules which had been designed by and agreed with the SRA and the LSB previously. It is now seeking to remove any oversight capability from the Law Society who will be compelled to rely on assurances by the SRA that it has complied with any financial and legal requirements and any oversight function will be vested in the LSB. The consultation remains open until 21 January 2019. Interestingly despite this consultation affecting the way in which millions of the profession’s monies is spent and the way in which those regulating the profession are held to account, the LSB does not list solicitors as a group who may be ‘interested’ in the consultation. Instead there is reference at number 10 out of 15 as ‘Members of the Legal Profession’. The LSB also approve all budgets and fees such as practising certificates. Under the 2007 Act, the Law Society is permitted to levy the profession for some of its income for permitted purposes such as education and training and promoting the profession, although some of its activities such as legal challenges to legal aid must be paid for out of commercial income. The SRA has long opposed the Law Society being able to levy the profession and has lobbied to have this power removed. Removing the power to levy the profession would undoubtedly risk the survival of a www.northamptonshirelawsociety.co.uk
Northamptonshire Law Society
Discussing Property Logbooks With a continued market focus on speeding up the home buying and selling process, I was interested in reading a recent article on the Law Society Gazette’s website which suggested how the government is anticipated to back “‘property logbooks” in a bid to streamline transactions1.
Article from Tony Rollason, Regional Manager Legal, Landmark Information Group
The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government attended UK Finance’s Annual Mortgage Conference and participated in a panel discussion looking at ‘digitising the home buying process’ and it was here this topic was mentioned.
In my view, the role of digital technology, data, software and online services are all pivotal in helping to improve the current way of working, create greater transparency for all involved in the chain, and in helping to solve communication bottlenecks.
The detail on what would be included in such a logbook was not included in the article, however it was described as “[providing] more up front information about their property before it goes on the market to make the homebuying process quicker, cheaper and less stressful.”
In today’s pressured market, where margins are being driven down, customer expectations are as high as they have ever been in terms of turnaround times; I know property solicitors are looking at ways to smooth the process.
The article prompted a flurry of responses from the industry, with many comparing the mooted logbook as a reinvented Home Information Pack. While HIPs may not have worked when launched back in 2007, there are benefits of presenting data as early in the process as possible From a logbook perspective, there is a benefit of presenting as much ‘static’ information to prospective buyers and sellers at the very outset of the process, to get the wheels in motion. For example, Property Information Questionnaires form and the Fittings & Contents forms, in addition to the property’s official Property Register/ Title from Land Registry. Then, when an offer is accepted by the vendor, all the key documentation is ready for conveyancers to use, saving time or potential delays. We are already seeing some estate agents take on board this approach, which brings forward a number of tasks that will typically happen after the acceptance of an offer. I believe that any ‘dynamic’ data or information, which may be subject to periodical change, should however be left outside of any proposed logbook.
“...flood risk is an ever changing beast; it should never be assumed that a property is not considered a flood risk just because it’s not next to a river...”
In my view, integration and workflow are key as we move ever closer to more seamless, digital transactions. Integrating existing working practices, for example ordering and assessing property searches directly into case management workflow or practice management software will be just one of the steps that will help to join all the dots together. Environmental reports have also advanced, and today reports such as RiskView, provide online access to interactive maps, so all parties can visually see what risk is present, allowing further investigation to easily take place. Presenting static information as early in the process can only help; but it is just one cog in the conveyancing wheel. After all, conveyancing is a highly complex, regulated legal service where security and compliance is key. Everyone is of course behind improvement and speeding-up the process, but in doing so we do not want to see corners being cut, and without doubt this is a topic that will continue to be in the headlines as we move into 2019. 1. https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/practice/government-backs-property- logbooks-to-speed-conveyancing/5068216.article
For example, flood risk is an ever changing beast; it should never be assumed that a property is not considered a flood risk just because it’s not next to a river for example. Land use changes, topology, groundwater or impact from local development are just some factors that may change a property’s risk factor over time. As such, the very latest flood information should always be accessed to ensure it provides the most up to date analysis. The detail behind the logbook concept will be interesting to monitor, however this whole conversation does bring us back to the topic of electronic conveyancing and in using technology wherever possible to simplify home buying and selling.
www.northamptonshirelawsociety.co.uk Untitled-3 1
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Northamptonshire Law Society Meet Your Council Members... It has been some time since we have updated the members on who is serving you on the Society Council. Over the years council members come and go so we thought the short biographies and photos below might be of interest to you. If you are interested in joining the council then please contact Phil Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Carolyn Coles(sec.nls.outlook.com) for more information.
President - Oliver Spicer I work within Shoosmithsâ€™ Business Advice Division; a department that provides a full range of advice and services for commercial clients. My Specialisms include: High value, high volume debt recovery litigation. I practice in the areas of Insolvency, Repossessions, Money Claims and Receiverships. I also take on marine finance and asset finance litigation as required. I act for a range of lenders including national banks, building societies, motor manufacturers, asset owners / lenders and other financial institutions and
specialise in complex, defended matters. I have a great deal of in-house experience, having worked for one of the jurisdictionâ€™s major banks during my training contract and with a manufacturer / finance house post qualification. Prior to working in the legal industry, I worked as an aircraft technician for a major airline and has many years of engineering experience. I am currently President of the Society having taken the helm in September 2018.
Immediate Past President - Ika Castka I am a partner in the Commercial Property team at Wilson Browne and have been advising individuals and businesses across Northamptonshire since qualifying in 1986, specialising in commercial, agricultural and rural property matters for both businesses and individuals. I am a member of the Commercial Real Estate Legal Association, and represent Wilson Browne on the Country Landowners Association. I take an active interest in the local community and
as well as being a Northamptonshire Law Society Council member and immediate Past President I am also co-chair of Corby Business Group and am a school governor at the Brooke Weston Academy in Corby. In my spare time I spend my time walking the familyâ€™s Golden Retriever Harry, going to the gym, the occasional quiz night and supporting my sister in law with her fundraising activities for local charities.
Honorary Treasurer - Lisa Garley Evans I am the Society Hon. Treasurer and was Past President of the Society in 2006. My current job is General Counsel at Holland and Barrett International which is based in Nuneaton. I have been a lawyer for more than 20 years, mainly in-house and specialising
in general international commercial activities. When not working I enjoy rugby, cricket and cycling having completed the London to Paris cycle race a few years ago.
Honorary Secretary - Ruth Taylor opportunity in 2010 to set up my own firm, I took it. I became involved with Northamptonshire Law Society shortly after I set up my practice. This has provided me with a helpful support network from other legal professionals, all of whom, including myself, aim to provide the best possible advice and assistance to clients and to provide the best quality service we can. I am currently honorary secretary of the Society. Outside of work, I enjoy watching rugby and I have recently taken up rowing at Marlow Rowing Club. I also like to travel when I get the chance.
Northamptonshire Law Society
I am a solicitor specialising in family law dealing with matters such as divorce, separation, financial settlements, arrangements for the children, domestic violence and other related family issues. I set up my own practice in 2010 and work from an office in Kingsthorpe, Northampton. I have always worked in the area of family law since leaving school when I worked at a solicitor’s office and studied part time in the evenings to qualify initially as a Legal Executive and then as a solicitor. My passion for helping people with family law problems has never left me, so when I had the
Constituency Member & Past President - Linda Lee I have been a member of Northamptonshire Law Society’s Council since 2003 and was its President in 2013 and 2014. I am proud to be a member of the solicitors’ profession and have fought for recognition of its pivotal role in upholding the rule of law. As the Law Society Council Member for Northamptonshire and Leicestershire I have developed and delivered a number of initiatives to support local solicitors, including the small firms’ group which provides regulatory updates and support to any firm regardless of the numbers of partners/fee earners. I am also the Chair of the Solicitors Assistance Scheme, which gives advice and assistance to solicitors and those employed in solicitors’ firms facing professional and personal difficulties. In private practice, I specialise in regulatory and disciplinary law at national law firm Radcliffes Le Brasseur, advising and assisting solicitors and those dealing with them in an extremely complex and rapidly changing regulatory environment. I am a regular advocate before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. Frequently lecturing and writing on legal
and regulatory issues, I am an editor of Cordery on Legal Services and a director of the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting. A Past President of the Law Society of England and Wales (2010-2011), I continue to be a Council Member and have held a number of key roles in the Society, including Chair of the Representation Board, Chair of the Legal Affairs and Policy Board, Chair of the Regulatory Affairs Board and is currently Chair of the of the Regulatory Processes Committee. I am also a member of the Society’s Policy and Regulatory Committee and the Access to Justice Committee. I am a Commissioner for the Criminal Cases Review Commission, the statutory body responsible for investigating alleged miscarriages of justice in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. As a separate strand in my legal life I hold a number of quasi-judicial offices; I am legal chair for the General Medical Council, for the Taxation Disciplinary Board, for the Primary Care Appeals Unit of the National Health Service Litigation Authority, and for the Phone-paid Services Authority.
Council Member - David Browne I am a Partner in and Head of the Northampton Corporate team at Hewitsons. I am also a member of the firm’s Insolvency and Banking Groups and sit on the firm’s Management Board. After graduating from Cambridge, I trained with Stephenson Harwood in London where I worked in their Corporate Department for over three years after qualifying. I then spent a further three years with Howes Percival in Norwich before joining Hewitsons in 1997 becoming a partner the following year.
I specialise in a wide range of corporate matters including acquisitions and disposals, corporate finance and complex group reorganisations and act for a broad range of clients including owner managed businesses, publically traded corporations and banks. Out of work I am married to the long suffering Sara. I am a “sporting tragic” and am still trying to play cricket and golf (both badly) and, if not playing sport, spend too much time watching sport.
Council Member - Sharine Burgess I am a senior associate in the personal injury department at Shoosmiths. I act on behalf of injured people and deal with a wide range of cases including stress at work, workplace illness and disease claims, accidents at work and military claims. Many of my clients live with complex conditions in challenging circumstances. My clients have suffered life-changing injuries and have developed serious illnesses. My job is to support these individuals and their families through the legal process and help them come to terms with what has happened in
order to move forward in a positive way. My ethos is to treat all clients with dignity, respect and sensitivity. I was the proud winner of The Fiona Moore Solicitor of the Year Award at the Northamptonshire Law Society Awards in 2017. I live in Northampton with my husband and daughter and when I am not being my daughter’s chauffeur I enjoy books, theatre and travel.
Council Member - Laura Carter Northamptonshire Law Society
I qualified as a Solicitor in 2002 and am a Partner in the private client department at Vincent Sykes and Higham in Thrapston, a busy market town in North Northamptonshire. I have always lived and worked locally in Northamptonshire. I undertake a wide variety of work; preparation of Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney, estate administration, Court of Protection applications and general wealth preservation.
My location offers experience in matters with a more rural connection but have a special interest in dealing with matters with a foreign connection since I am also a Notary Public and fluent in Spanish. I was given the opportunity last year to prepare the Northamptonshire Law Society’s response to the Law Commissioner’s Consultation on “Making a Will” and currently await the report.
Council Member & Past-president - Caroline McGann I am a former president of NLS and have been a council member for more years than I dare to mention!! I starting my training contract with DFA Law and had the greatest mentor in the form of Murray Holmes a former president himself. I stayed at DFA Law for 10 years thereafter specialising in crime until I reached partnership. I then (some might say stupidly) started my own company McGanns Law Ltd in 2005. After 13 years with McGanns Law being a sole practioner fighting the good fight I decided that my time had come to hand over to those younger and fitter than me. However it is a
vocation and so I now work as a part time consultant at Carter Osborne for my good friend Michelle Fraiser. I fill my non working time with my horses, seeing friends and family who nearly gave up on ever seeing me and enjoying my first puppy (because now I have the time) a Hungarian Viszla. Life is good and time flies by I wonder how I ever managed. My only advice for the younger law generation is work hard and play harder ;-) and consider joining the Council it provided me with a lot of friendships and support over the years.
Council Member - Jabeer Miah Head of Commercial Real Estate & Residential Property – Shepherd & Co. Solicitors, Towcester, Northamptonshire I am a senior legal professional with extensive experience as Head of Commercial Real Estate and Residential Property at Shepherd and Co. Solicitors. I specialise in commercial property work dealing with Landlord and Tenant matters, Lease Renewals, Buying and Selling of Businesses, Commercial Property Investment and secured lending; whilst supervising the Residential Property team and dealing with development and complex transactions.
I am also the Senior Responsible Officer for the Conveyancing Quality Scheme. I enjoy a strong Client following from across the UK and act for many restauranteurs, retailers, licensed operators and enjoy meeting new people and networking. I also sit as a Magistrate and I am a Trustee of several Charities and a member of many local organisations and enjoy voluntary and community work. In my spare time I enjoy DIY, visiting new restaurants and different cities, socialising and entertaining friends and family.
Council Member - Michael Orton Jones I am a solicitor but practise mainly as a notary public dealing with foreign transactions. I was formerly a partner, and chairman of the board, of Shoosmiths.
On retirement as a partner, I represented Financial Services on the national Law Society Council and was chairman of the Law Society’s Financial Services and Investment Business Working Party. See www.orton-jones.com.
Council Member - Karen Shakespeare I am a locum private client Solicitor, specialising in wills, trusts and probate, with a particular interest in mental illness, disability and capacity issues. After qualifying as a Solicitor in 1999 I worked for firms in Milton Keynes and Northampton before becoming a locum in 2011. Since then, I’ve worked for law firms, charities and local authorities from Cornwall to Cumbria. While locuming near Pinewood Studios I was very excited to draft a will for a well-known
actor and this led to me unexpectedly appearing in his film as “office worker 5”. I’m a keen campaigner for the regulation of will writers and for compulsory will registration in order to protect the public and minimise fraud. Outside of the law, I’m a slow but enthusiastic runner with Northampton Road Runners and a Run Director at Sixfields Upton parkrun. I also foster parrots that are waiting to be rehomed for the charity Birdline.
Council Member & Past-president - Euan Temple President of pan-European international lawyers network of English-speaking business lawyers “Eurolegal”. President in 1998 of the East Midlands Association of Local Law Societies. 1993-1998 a member of the national Law Society’s International Awareness Working Party (Chairman 1997-1998) and 19961998, a member of the national Law Society’s International Committee. Interests. Coaching and umpiring field hockey, European history.
Northamptonshire Law Society
I graduated from Cambridge University in 1967, qualified as a solicitor in 1970 and was accredited as a commercial mediator in 1990. I retired from practising as a solicitor in 2013 but continue to advise as a business consultant on non-reserved matters. I joined the Society’s Council in 2004. Past Hon President 2009. Nominated in 1994 in “Euromoney” (an independent publication) as one of the World’s leading Merger and Acquisition lawyers, one of the three UK lawyers only who were nominated outside the City of London. Past Chairman and current
Co-opted Member - Afua Akom I am a Trainee Solicitor at Shepherd and Co. I have gained experience in private client, family law, and residential and commercial property. Prior to moving to Northamptonshire, I lived in London where I worked in the city, at a top 45 law firm. Outside of work, I enjoy creative writing and I am currently writing my first book. I have gained
extensive events management experience. During my time in London, I chaired a committee and arranged networking events for junior lawyers. I also worked with a team, arranging enlightening networking events for professionals from various industries. The events included TED type presentations and focused on topical themes, whilst encouraging discussion and networking.
Co-opted Member - Aimee Johns I qualified as a solicitor in September 2017 and joined the Employment team at Wilson Browne Solicitors in March 2018. I advise on both contentious and non-contentious employment law matters and work with businesses and individuals. My focus is on delivering forward thinking and compassionate advice to my clients. I love my job because it gives me the opportunity to make a difference and effect positive change, both for businesses and the people they employ. With
employment law continuing to be an ever changing landscape, being able to deliver practical and straightforward advice to my clients helps give them the support and confidence they need to properly manage their employment issues. Outside of the office I enjoy exploring new places, going to the theatre and socialising. I also spend the occasional Sunday afternoon baking, which I hear is much appreciated by my colleagues on a Monday morning!
Co-opted Member - Amy Leech Amy is a trainee solicitor at Shoosmiths LLP, currently finishing her second seat on a client secondment to VWG UK, and is due to join the employment team for her third seat starting in September. Amy’s first seat included stints in the regulatory team at Shoosmiths and on secondment to Tesco Plc. Amy is currently the Social Events Officer for the Northamptonshire Buckinghamshire Junior Lawyers Division. Being alumni of the University of
Northampton, Amy keeps a strong relationship with the University by volunteering as a mentor, for their pro-bono clinic and to undertake motivational career talks at the campus. Outside of work Amy enjoys keeping active, mainly by playing for and captaining a local netball team.
Co-opted Member - Lynsey Ward I graduated with a first class honours degree in law with criminology from Kingston University London. I went on to undertake the legal practice course in Bristol where I obtained a merit. From there I worked for a firm specialising in family work with a legal aid contract. I chose to leave this firm and accept a training contract with a more local high street firm to obtain experience in other areas of law. Whilst obtaining experience in other areas, I opened, and
successfully ran, the family department. I currently work at SP Law incorporating Martin Adams & McColl. I continue to specialise in family as well as private client. I work part time as I have two year old twin girls who keep me extremely busy outside of work! I never thought I would actually say this, but it seems that work is a break for me now!
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Life in the law can be tough. Call our confidential helpline. Weâ€™re here to listen. 0800 279 6888
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Northamptonshire by Carolyn Benjamin
Relate Northamptonshire is the largest provider of counselling services in the county, entering its 60th year and provides over 5,000 hours of therapeutic services each year. Over a million people every year access information, support and counselling from Relate nationally. Our counsellors are amongst the best trained counsellors in the country, all are accredited by the BACP and work within Relate’s Quality Framework for Practice. Our client outcome analysis for 2017/18 shows that 94% of people engaging in counselling sessions at Relate Northamptonshire had an improvement in their overall mental well-being. Of those, over 50% said they felt happier, were enjoying more out of life, felt less stressed and felt better about themselves than before they started their counselling with Relate Northamptonshire Relate provides impartial and non-judgemental support for people of all ages (12 years and up) equipping them to improve their mental health through the provision of high quality counselling. We work with individuals, couples, families and young people at all stages of their family and social relationships. We equip clients with strategies to help them to recover from many issues including relationship breakdown, loss & bereavement, domestic abuse, depression, anxiety, work related & other forms of stress and general emotional turmoil. The clients that you see through your practices will almost certainly be dealing with the aforementioned range of life circumstances and associated emotional pressures. Relate Northamptonshire can provide much needed professional support to help your clients deal with the emotional difficulties they face whilst undergoing the challenges of divorce and separation, employment tribunals and the loss of a loved one.
Relate Northamptonshire are keen to support your practice with referring clients into our services to help them better cope with the difficult life circumstances that typically face them whilst engaging with legal issues.
If you are interested in hearing more about how Relate Northamptonshire can support you to support your clients with their emotional well-being please do not hesitate to contact Carolyn Benjamin, CEO Relate Northamptonshire on 01604 634400 or at email@example.com. uk. www.relatenorthants.org.uk We would also welcome applications from the legal profession to join our Board of Trustees. Again please contact Carolyn for more details.
Counselling can help address the difficult issues when a relationship breaks down and reduce the stresses of a family separation. Talking calmly and honestly to each other in an impartial environment often minimises the harsh and hurtful words that are said in anger. A counsellor will help to address the anger often felt in the family dynamic and help to look at what went wrong in order to prevent the breakdown of future relationships. We can support individuals going through stressful employment tribunals to help them to manage this often difficult situation to protect their mental well-being and on their relationships at work and in the home. Our experienced counsellors have had years of experience supporting employees through difficult work situations.
In the face of death and loss of a loved one many people struggle to find the words to support those around them and often avoid contact or steer the conversation away from emotionally difficult areas. A counsellor can support them to manage their emotions and feelings about their loss and help them to understand and accept that death takes time. Many people come to counselling feeling nervous and uncertain of what to expect. More often than not, people considering counselling are feeling vulnerable and uncertain. Counselling isn’t only useful in times of crisis, it can be a way of exploring different ways of dealing with the world, or managing new situations. Whatever the reasons, it can be nerve racking to make that first step.
So, what can your clients expect from counselling? Counsellors don’t give advice or recommend what a person should do, but are trained to work empathetically to help people to explore their feelings and thoughts without judgement. Clients receive an initial consultation to ensure that counselling is able to support them with their issues and if both the client and the counsellor feel counselling is appropriate, a suitable number of future sessions is agreed on an individual basis.
Registered Charity number 264221
e are a UK charity providing a fantastic selection of high-quality audiobooks to some 50,000 people across the UK who ﬁnd it diﬃcult or impossible to read due to an illness, disability, learning or mental health diﬃculty. We charge a membership fee to only half of our members- those who feel they can make some contribution and that is heavily subsidised. The other half need to be fully funded. Listening Books receives no central government funding whatsoever and very little local government funding. The reality is that Listening Books simply could not survive without the generous support of sponsors and the active co-operation of publishers. Whether you have already written your will or are thinking about writing one in the near future, we ask that you consider leaving a legacy to Listening Books. Your legacy will make a vital diﬀerence to the lives of our members for years to come.
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Free wills have a time and place, but it’s not all we need to talk about by Rob Cope, Director of Remember A Charity
At a recent legal sector conference, I was struck by how many lawyers and solicitors assumed that – because I worked for a charitable campaign – what I’d be looking for from them was to coordinate free will-writing services. And yet I believe that there are far more important conversations to be had.
A time and place for free wills Charitable campaigns like Will Aid and Free Wills Month have a critical place in the market, encouraging those to write a will who they might not get around to it otherwise. This was certainly the case for me: I’d been meaning to get around to it for months, when I remembered that I could write my will for the cost of a small donation through Will Aid. Quite simply, the timing was right; I knew how I wanted to divide my will and who would benefit. It was relatively quick and easy for me to get it done, and that included three charitable causes that are particularly closely connected to me and my family – not least the children’s hospital that saved my daughter’s life. Essentially, the ability to write a will without incurring hefty costs triggered me into action. And this is where free charitable wills work so well. They can be an effective tactic and trigger for action. But that doesn’t mean that they should be the main strategic approach for interactions between the legal and charitable sector.
“...Free charitable will campaigns may indeed help generate such discussions, but charitable conversations cannot be reserved for these outlets alone. A standard professional approach is what I believe will make the biggest difference of all...” While I’m a believer that professional will-writing services should be accessible for all, free or even cheap services are not always the way to go. My fear is that – particularly in an unregulated market - we run the risk of a race to the bottom, where the only conversation between the legal and charitable sector is through free or heavily discounted wills. And many of these wills do not include a charitable bequest at all. If charitable will-writing is synonymous with ‘free’, the danger is that this will become the norm, when professional will-writing services and often more complex decisions and estate arrangements are worth paying for and getting right. In other words, while free will campaigns can be a great spur into action, they should not necessarily be the default position for charitable wills.
Increasing volume of discounted will-writing services Even beyond the free charity wills movement, the challenge is of course that there is a large and growing range of discounted willwriting services on the market, both online and offline. All of which offer assurances that the necessary checks will be carried out. While the legal sector awaits news of how the future will-writing environment might change post the recent Law Commission consultation, the vetting procedures, legal checks and professional advice for each service can vary immensely. This can cause confusion and runs the risk of people preparing a will that either may not be legally-sound or that fails to take account of their full financial circumstances and wishes. What’s more, the scope for legal disputes is greater if there hasn’t been sufficient rigour in the will-writing process. When it comes to highlighting the option of giving to charity, it’s a lottery: some advisers always mention it, while others choose never to talk to clients about it, further adding to the disparity between will-writing services. While there are merits to offering discounted wills – this should not come at the expense of people failing to access the support they need when writing their will or indeed lawyers not being funded to fulfil a proper service. A cheap price can devalue the importance of will-writing, meaning that the public isn’t always getting the comprehensive advice they need or the service that solicitors want to deliver.
What solicitors and charities do need to talk about From our perspective at Remember A Charity, we’re working to create an environment where everyone has the option to include a gift to charity in their will. For this to happen, people need to know that this choice is available, they don’t have to leave a particularly large sum and – most importantly – that they can still look after their loved ones when they do so. Free charitable will campaigns may indeed help generate such discussions, but charitable conversations cannot be reserved for these outlets alone. A standard professional approach is what I believe will make the biggest difference of all. While solicitors aren’t expected to be fundraisers, we hope that they will always raise the issue with relevant clients, along with the full range of options available to them. These conversations simply wouldn’t happen at all from many an off-the-shelf or online will-writing service. So I’ll end with a plea; don’t reserve conversations about charitable will-writing for designated charitable campaigns. When the option is included in all comprehensive will planning services, your advice can have a transformational impact on good causes across the UK and your clients’ affairs.
Rob Cope is the Director of Remember A Charity
WE ARE WORKPLACE SECURITY
As of November 2018 Cyber Essentials will be a requirement for Law society members signed up to the popular Lexcel Standard Cyber Essentials lets everyone know that you take Cyber Security seriously and have measures in place to keep their information secure. As an IASME Licensed Certification Body ACS offers fixed fee packages of consultancy, audit and certification for organisations seeking to secure Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials PLUS security standards. Practices must have an information management and security policy and should be accredited against Cyber Essentials. The policy must incorporate the following controls:
• a register of relevant information assets of both the practice and clients • procedures for the protection and security of the information assets
• procedures to manage user accounts • procedures to detect and remove malicious software • a register of all software used by the practice
• procedures for the retention and disposal of information the use of firewalls
• training for personnel on information security
• procedures for the secure configuration of network devices
• a plan for the updating and monitoring of software
Be one of the select few firms in the UK to achieve Cyber Essentials PLUS accreditation with ACS Cyber Essentials at its basic level is well known to be achievable as a self-assessment, and often less weight with commercial clients. If your firm mostly operates with private clients, this may not be a concern. However, if your firm has a significant number of clients in the commercial sector, you should consider Cyber Essentials PLUS. Whilst essentially the same standard, to obtain the plus certificate your firm will need to be independently tested to ensure the technical controls are adequately enforced. Cyber Essentials PLUS requires on-site testing. The time and cost will depend on the complexity and size of your firm, the number of offices and whether you require consultancy or support with implementation. It also requires completing the self-assessment questionnaire, however a Cyber Essentials Assessor from the Certification Body will also visit your law firm to carry out on-site testing of your organisation’s cyber security measures.
call: 01604 704000
Northamptonshire Law Society Annual Awards Dinner
The Marriott Hotel, Eagle Drive, Northampton, NN4 7HW Friday 1st March 2019
On the 140th anniversary of the founding of the Northamptonshire Law Society, the President invites you to attend the annual awards dinner and casino night! Drinks Reception to begin at 7:30pm Dinner Served 8:00 pm Casino event to follow Carriages: 1:00 am Dress Code: Black Tie/Cocktail Dress Costs: Individual Tickets £48.00 per person Book a Table of 10 for £450.00 Early Bird Discount before 8th January 2019 Individual Tickets £45.00 per person Book a Table of 10 for £420.00 All booking enquiries by email please to email@example.com Full details of the Award categories and how to nominate will be sent to all members via email shortly, or you can mail Phil Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Carolyn Coles (sec.nls.outlook.co.uk) for details Thank you to our Patrons: The University of Northampton, QPI Legal Ltd., Hawsons Chartered Accountants, Landmark Information Group
Law Commission supports view that electronic signatures are valid Northamptonshire Law Society
The Law Commission has published its provisional findings on the validity of electronic signatures in England and Wales and has outlined potential options for reform. Shoosmiths’ Mark Shepherd and Stephen Dawson outline the Law Commission’s preliminary conclusions. In January 2018, following concerns over a lack of clarity in the law, the Law Commission launched a project to address uncertainties as to the formalities around electronic execution of documents. It was acknowledged that the uncertainty in the law, alongside practical issues such as security and reliability, was discouraging the use of electronic signatures while recognising that there is a growing demand for an effective and acceptable method of using electronic signatures on legal documents. The Law Commission was asked by the Ministry of Justice to consider the problems surrounding the law in relation to electronic signatures and to consider whether, and if so what, legislative reform or other measures are needed to address those issues. The project was given a wide scope, covering documents which are required by law to be ‘signed’ and documents which are required by law to be executed as deeds. However, it did not extend to wills (which are the subject of a separate Law Commission project) or documents relating to the registration of land (which is being dealt with by the Land Registry’s project on electronic conveyancing and registration). In addition, there are some limited statutory requirements for ‘handwritten’ signatures which were also outside the scope of the project.
Can a document be ‘signed’ electronically?
In its consultation document, published on 21 August 2018, the Law Commission set out its provisional conclusion that “under the current law, an electronic signature is capable of satisfying a statutory requirement for a signature, where there is an intention to authenticate the document”, and referred to case law under which electronic methods of execution were held to be valid for the purposes of legislation such as the Statute of Frauds 1677 and the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989. Further, this conclusion was not restricted to a particular type of electronic signature and extended to documents which are required by statute to be executed ‘under hand’. The consultation document acknowledged that some parties would prefer to be able to point, with confidence, to a statutory statement that an electronic signature is as valid as a handwritten signature. The Law Commission therefore explored whether legislative reform is necessary, but has concluded that it is not. It believes that the current law is already sufficiently flexible to accommodate electronic signatures.
What about deeds?
Much of the consultation document was dedicated to the requirements for due execution of deeds which, in addition to requirements for ‘signing’, require extra levels of formality including ‘witnessing’, ‘attestation’ and ‘delivery’. Given the conclusion that an electronic signature is capable of fulfilling a statutory requirement for a document to be signed, the Law Commission found that “it is logical that the requirement for witnessing may be satisfied by the witness watching the signatory apply their electronic signature in the same location”.
It did not consider, however, that the law is sufficiently certain to allow for witnessing without that physical presence and the consultation paper explored, and sought views on, a number of options for reform, including: •
witnessing by video link;
a move away from the requirement for witnessing with the use of particular types of digital signatures which use an additional authentication process; and
the introduction of a new concept of ‘acknowledgment’ by which a witness can sign to confirm that the signatory has ‘acknowledged’ their signature to the witness.
The Law Commission supported the video link option because it is sufficiently similar to witnessing by physical presence and sought views on how the witness should ‘attest’ the signature (i.e. record on the document that they have observed the execution).
As to the requirement for ‘delivery’ (essentially, to signify that the maker of the deed intends it to become effective and that he or she is bound by it), the Law Commission also confirmed that it does not consider this to impede the practice of executing deeds electronically. More generally, however, the Law Commission also sought views on whether it should undertake a separate project to review the formalities for executing deeds and whether the concept of deeds in general remains fit for purpose in the twenty first century.
The Law Commission’s confirmation of the validity of electronic signatures will undoubtedly encourage their wider use and will pave the way for quicker and more efficient transactions.
However, some practical and technical issues may still remain as barriers to the use of electronic signatures. The Law Commission acknowledged that issues such as security and reliability, trust and identity, the interoperability of electronic signature systems and the archiving of information will remain concerns to contracting parties and their advisers. It has, therefore, suggested that a working industry group should be established to consider those issues and believes that guidance in those areas may provide more confidence in the use of electronic signatures.
Some documents may also be subject to certain registration requirements where the relevant registry will only accept documents executed with ‘wet ink’ signatures. This will continue to be a barrier to executing those particular documents electronically and the Law Commission is in contact with a number of registries to ascertain the position.
Electronic signatures are already used in many industries, particularly for simple contracts, and the Law Commission’s preliminary views on the validity of electronic signatures will be welcomed. In the absence of a statutory statement of validity, the proposed guidance on practical and technical issues will be essential in promoting confidence and wider use for deeds and for complex transactions. Next steps
The Law Commission will consider the responses received during the consultation period, which ran until 23 November 2018. It will then decide on its final recommendations and present them to government. Link to consultation:
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Time to Change ‘stress awareness space’ was created for individuals to share tips and ideas on coping with stress. Additionally, employees and partners were encouraged to explore the link between physical health and mental wellbeing through the provision of free yoga and running sessions, exercise information resources and healthy snack samples.
Fostering a culture of open communication regarding mental health ensures equal and readily available support for all employees and partners. Providing a safe, positive and supportive working environment is a responsibility all law firms share.
If you would like further information on the Time To Change initiative, please visit
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Hannah Warnes, Shoosmiths Mental Health & Wellbeing Champion Awareness of the extent of mental In 2017, Shoosmiths signed health problems in the UK is growing; the ‘Time To Change pledge’, across social media and news platforms a mental health campaign the importance of positive mental health launched in England in 2007 and the impact of work-based stress is with the objective of reducing mental health-related stigma and being widely discussed. discrimination. Driving forward Recent months have seen an increased the objectives, teams of voluntary focus on this, with World Mental Health Day mental health and wellbeing champions taking placing in October and National Stress have formed in each of Shoosmiths’ offices Awareness Day following in November. across the UK. The champions exist to During this period, news channels reported support the firms ongoing mental health frightening statistics on the extent of mental programme and work to raise awareness, health problems within the UK and explored provide help and resources and promote an some of the causes behind them; stress, accepting and supportive culture. depression and anxiety directly related to Throughout October and November, the work were repeatedly cited. Shoosmiths mental health and wellbeing The legal profession can be stressful; high champions devised a programme of workloads and difficult cases which can activities, information and support in have a detrimental impact on mental health. collaboration with the national awareness Thankfully, the increased awareness in days. The initiatives saw the champions mental health issues and associated press at Shoosmiths’ offices running a variety of coverage has resulted in a wider, national schemes and sessions all designed to start social acceptance and change in attitude the conversation about mental health. toward the issue, with many law firms across the country further supporting employees At the Northampton office, a wealth of information, sign-posting help and suffering with mental health problems. available resources were circulated and a
Northamptonshire Law Society
EU Geo-Blocking Regulation From 3 December 2018, businesses who sell either B2B or B2C within the EU (including the UK) will have to comply with the EU Geo-Blocking Regulation. Regulation (EU) 2018/302 addresses unjustified on line sales discrimination based on customers’ nationality, place of residence or place of establishment within the internal market. The ban on geo-blocking is an important element of the digital single market strategy. The Regulation entered into force on 22 March 2018 in all EU Member States and applies from 3 December 2018 to allow in particular small traders to adapt. It amends Regulations (EC) 2006/2004 and (EU) 2017/2394 and Directive 2009/22/EC. The Regulation will have both economic and procedural implications for any trader which sells to EU customers because it requires that customers anywhere in the EU must be allowed to purchase on the same conditions as customers anywhere else in the EU. A trader can still put different prices on websites aimed at different territories, but customers must not be confined to purchasing from websites aimed at a particular territory.
The three forms of prohibited behaviour The Regulation prohibits the following discriminatory behaviours, where based on a customer’s nationality, place of residence or place of establishment:
1. Geo-blocking – a trader blocking or limiting a customer’s access to its online interface (such as a website or app), or automatically redirecting the customer to a different online interface, without its express consent. For example, this means that a UK user must not be automatically redirected to a non-UK version of the website they are visiting. Geo-blocking is permitted where it is necessary to comply with EU or Member State law, but where this is the case, a clear and specific explanation must be provided. 2. Offering goods or services on different conditions in different Member States. This applies to any goods which are offered in a Member State (whether delivered or made available for collection) and services, which may include electronically supplied services such as cloud or other services offered in a physical location where the trader operates (such as hiring a car).However, a trader can deny customers access to its goods or services where required under EU or Member State law. 3. Discriminating between different means of payment where:
Payments are made electronically by bank transfer, direct debit or card-based payment within the same brand and category (i.e. debit or credit card);
The payments are in a currency that the trader accepts.
Authentication requirements are fulfilled; and
What does this mean? By way of example, with effect from 3 December 2018 in the absence of a legal justification, a trader based in the UK will not be able to prevent a German customer (identified using technical means, such as an IP address, or otherwise) from accessing its UK website, and purchasing the trader’s goods/services on the same terms as a UK customer (including the price). This does not mean that, if the trader has more than one website, the price offered on
Euan Temple Council Member & Past President
each of them has to be the same. Differential pricing, special offers and promotions from Member State to Member State will continue to be permissible, provided that those terms are available to all EU customers on a non-discriminatory basis.
In terms of delivery options, the trader in this example could offer to deliver goods in the UK and Ireland only. Whilst the Regulation requires a trader to sell cross-border in the EU, it does not impose an obligation to deliver cross-border. The German customer would, however, have to be offered the option of collecting the goods from the trader’s premises or arranging delivery to their German address themselves.
The trader in question would not be able to discriminate based on the Member State in which the customer’s credit card was issued, if it accepted payment by that brand of credit card in another Member State. However, it would not be required to accept a credit card simply because it accepted debit cards of the same brand.
“...A trader can still put different prices on websites aimed at different territories, but customers must not be confined to purchasing from websites aimed at a particular territory...” Why was this Regulation introduced?
The objective of the Regulation is to encourage cross-border commerce within the EU Single Market, especially e-commerce. The Regulation gives all customers in the EU the same rights to access a trader’s goods/services and on the same terms, irrespective of their location. EU customers will be able to shop around (potentially across the entire EU) to access the best prices and sales conditions.
Who will be affected? The Regulation applies to all traders who make cross-border sales of goods or services to EU customers via online, offline or omni-channel means. ‘Customers’ in this context includes both consumers and corporate customers, provided in either case they are buying the goods/services for end use. The Regulation will, therefore, be relevant in the context of both B2B and B2C contracts, but not in the case of arrangements between manufacturers and their wholesale distributors.
Significantly, the Regulation has extra-territorial effect. Traders based in the EU and traders established outside the EU (for example, in the US) must be compliant, provided in each case that they are selling to EU customers.
Scope of the Regulation
Enforcement Enforcement of the Regulation will be dealt with at national level. The enforcement authority in the UK will be the Competition and Markets Authority. It will be able to apply for court orders against, or accept undertakings from, traders requiring them to cease infringing behaviour. Customers who suffer loss as a result of a trader breaking the Regulation will be able to bring a claim directly against that trader in relation to that loss. Authorities in other Member States will have the power to impose significant fines on traders who infringe the rules.
How should traders respond? Traders within the scope of the Regulations should take steps to assess whether their sales processes and trading terms and conditions include discriminatory elements prohibited by the Regulations, and revise them accordingly. Can all EU customers access their website and complete an order? Do the same terms and conditions apply regardless of the customer’s location? Traders should carry out this audit without delay with a view to becoming Regulation compliant by 3 December, or as soon as possible thereafter.
How will Brexit affect this? The UK Government recently issued a technical notice on how geo-blocking would be dealt with in the UK in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario. In summary, it confirmed that UK customers would no longer benefit from the Regulation when buying from EU traders. However, UK traders selling into the EU would still be bound to comply with the Regulation in their dealings with customers located in the remaining 27 EU Member States.
If the UK exits the EU under the terms of the draft Withdrawal Agreement published on 14 November 2018, the EU Regulation will continue to apply in the UK until the end of the transition period, i.e., until 31 December 2020.
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Some goods and services are excluded from the scope of the Regulation, including transport services, retail financial services and audio-visual services. Services linked to non-audio-visual copyrighted content (such as online television, music streaming and e-books) also fall outside the scope of the Regulation’s prohibition on offering different conditions of access to goods or services. Other goods and services, including electronically supplied services such as cloud services, will be within scope.
Northamptonshire Law Society
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The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) is arguably the most comprehensive - and complex - data privacy regulation in the world. Although the GDPR came into force on May 25, 2018, there continues to be a great deal of confusion or uncertainty regarding the requirements of the GDPR. Is a law firm required to respond to a data subject rectification request?
Yes. To the extent that a law firm is considered a ‘controller of data’, it is responsible for responding to a data subject that requests the “rectification of inaccurate” personal information that is held by the law firm. Such a request might originate, for example, from an employee of the law firm, a former employee of the law firm, a client, an adversary in litigation, or a witness in litigation.
It is important to note that the obligation to respond to a request for rectification does not mean that a law firm must change the information that it holds about an individual.
If the law firm is unable to verify that the information that it holds is inaccurate, if the inaccuracy has – in itself – relevance to the law firm, or if the law firm disagrees with a data subject’s assertion of inaccuracy, I consider that the law firm can simply note within its file that the data subject has requested rectification and who asserts that the correct information is something other than what is in the file.
What types of information do law firms collect that may be subject to the GDPR?
Law firms typically collect personal data subject to the GDPR in the following five contexts, and this will continue after Brexit: 1. Employee personal data.
If a law firm has employees in the EU / UK, the human resource data that it collects about those employees is most likely subject to the GDPR. 2. Personal Data about potential clients.
Many law firms collect personal information about potential or prospective clients. Such data is typically used to target potential clients, plan for pitches, tailor responses to requests for proposals, or send direct marketing. Personal data about prospective clients may be subject to the GDPR if it is processed in the context of an establishment in the EU/UK (eg., an EU office of a law firm), or if the data is used to market to individuals located within the EU/UK. 3. Personal Data about the law firm’s clients.
Most law firms collect personal information about their clients, or about individuals that work for their clients. Such data is typically used by a law firm for a variety of purposes including running conflict checks, sending out invoices, collecting money owed to the law firm, transmitting marketing, and communicating with clients about projects and engagements. Personal data about existing clients may be subject to the GDPR if it is processed in the context of a European establishment of the law firm (g., if the matter is handled out of an EU/UK office of the firm) or if the client (to the extent that the client is an individual, such as a private client) is located within the EU/UK.
Northamptonshire Law Society
GDPR and law firms… some current issues Euan Temple Council Member & Past President
firm to defend it in conjunction with a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by an employee, the client might transmit information about the employee, her supervisors, or her colleagues. Such data will be subject to the GDPR if it is processed in the context of an EU establishment of the law firm (eg., if the matter is handled out of an EU /UK office of the firm).
It is also possible that if a private client (e.g., an individual as opposed to a corporation) that is located in the EU/UK transmits information about themselves to be used in a claim, that data is also subject to the GDPR. 5. Personal Data received from other sources to be used in a claim.
Law firms often receive personal data from third parties that may be relevant to a particular claim. For example, a law firm may serve a document request on an opposing party that asks for personal data that may be relevant to litigation. Such data received, may be subject to the GDPR if it is processed in the context of an EU/UK establishment of the law firm (eg. if the matter is handled out of an EU / UK office of the firm).
FINGERPRINT ANALYSIS Peter M Swann FAE FFS MCSFS Independent Consultant to the Legal Profession Established 1987
A FORMER HOME OFFICE ADVISER WITH CONSIDERABLE EXPERIENCE IN ALL ASPECTS OF FINGERPRINT WORK An Accredited Expert and Fellow of the Academy of Experts, a Fellow of the Fingerprint Society, A Member of the International Association for Identiﬁcation and Member of its European Division, a Member of the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences and listed in the UK Register of Expert Witnesses. The Consultant now provides a full independent ﬁngerprint service to the legal profession, industry and other agencies.
Brieﬁng Expert Witness
Tel: Wakeﬁeld 01924 264900 (Oﬃce) 01924 276986 (Home) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.ﬁngerprint-analysis.co.uk
4. Personal Data received from clients to be used in a claim.
Clients often transmit to the law firm personal data that is relevant to a particular matter or claim. For example, if a client retains a law www.northamptonshirelawsociety.co.uk
Peter Swann Fingerprint Analysis 2019.indd 1
Northamptonshire Law Society
“Experts under the Judicial Microscope: cases, commentary and criticism”
The Expert Witness Conference was held on 27th September 2018 at Church House, Westminster, London SW1. A review by Elizabeth Taylor and Phillip Taylor MBE of Richmond Green Chambers It was another first-class expert get-together which took place at Church House, Westminster in September 2018. Our leading experts from the Institute met to have a natter and be briefed on new case law from colleagues, judges and lawyers. This time the theme was specifically about “judges under the microscope” and it was well-attended by EWI members eager for the legal updates which are now an annual feature of the Conference.
controversy. Louis was a leading figure throughout his life, called to the Bar at Middle Temple, and he with played a major role in the EWI, the Press Council and Amnesty amongst others. He was a founder of Doughty Street Chambers and will be greatly missed by all.
EWI members will meet in September 2019 in the post-Brexit British era so keep that date in your diary. EWI Conferences remain an excellent day out to update both experts and lawyers which you cannot miss.
Chaired as amiably and effectively as ever by Amanda Stevens from Hudgell Solicitors, the keynote speech was delivered by Sir Ernest Ryder, Senior President of Tribunals. He reviewed how experts assist the court process in their respective role. Sir Ernest did not disappoint! You can read his speech in detail on the judiciary website.
Attendees took the point that judges in future will have a much stronger lead role in the management of contentious cases from the outset. Then, an entertaining, but equally serious, presentation from Andrew Ritchie QC on “expert evidence and the seven deadly sins” giving us a quick trip round recent decisions with the theme of the seven sins which we won’t remind you of. The session was heavy on detail (but not too heavy) and delivered with that lightness of touch we expect of a silk with well-devised PPP slides, and Andrew stayed for the Q and A afterwards with useful information from Mike Napier. Sir Martin Spencer gave an important speech after one year as EWI chair. A challenging time with EWI staff changes and Martin’s new job as a High Court judge on circuit which he spoke frankly about- his speech will also be available on the EWI website. He talked also of the exciting developments with EWI in Singapore – a recurring theme during the day. The continuing importance of member engagement, membership support and the Expert Certification programme were useful updates for members. Later sessions covered a presentation on EWI Singapore with contributions from Sir Vivian Ramsey, Dr Thomas Walford and Chris Easton. The event concluded with the usual lively “questions” session which have become an important feature of EWI Conferences in recent years led by Dr John Sorabji with some most realistic views on the development of certification from Sandy Mackay whom we were able to chat to earlier during the lunch break as he explained the need for change. The sad passing of Sir Louis Bloom-Cooper (1926-2018) was announced. Louis, known to many throughout the legal world and beyond for his indefatigable support in some many areas of legal 28
www.northamptonshirelawsociety.co.uk Untitled-1 1
Dr LinDa MonaCi Consultant Clinical Neuropsychologist Medico-legal assessments for suspected or known brain injury and/or brain dysfunction in Personal Injury and Medical Negligence claims Northamptonshire Law Society
SpecialiSmS include: ● Acquired brain injury ● Stroke ● Epilepsy ● Alcohol and drug abuse
● Mental capacity assessments ● Post-concussion syndrome ● Anoxia ● Dementia ● Neuropsychiatric conditions
Medico-legal services: Instructions from Claimants, Defendants and as a Single Joint Expert. Appointments usually within 2 to 4 weeks, and reports produced in a further 2 to 4 weeks. Assessments can be carried out in Italian. Dr Monaci also has a good knowledge of the Swedish language and has experience of working through interpreters. Clinical services: neurorehabilitation Dr Monaci has completed the Cardiff University Bond Solon Expert Witness Certificates (Civil and Criminal Law). Contact: email@example.com for an initial enquiry. Main consulting rooms (nationwide locations): Several locations in the UK are available. Domiciliary visits can be arranged when clinically appropriate
Ten Harley Street London W1G 9PF Tel. 020 8942 3148
Borough Chambers Keats House 24-26 St Thomas London SE1 9RS
Aston Clinic 26 Kingston Road Surrey KT3 3LS Tel. 020 8942 3148
Correspondence address: Aston Clinic, 26 Kingston Road, Surrey KT3 3LS Tel: 020 8942 3148 Dr Linda Monaci Half Page New Version.indd 1
Mr Sameer Singh MBBS BSc FRCS Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
Mr Sameer Singh is an experienced expert witness in personal injury and medical negligence cases relating to his specialist areas of expertise. These include: • All aspects of trauma soft tissue and bone injuries • Sports Injuries • Upper and Lower Limb Disorders and Injuries • Whiplash Injuries His practice concentrates on shoulder, elbow and hand disorders, using techniques that are tailored to patient needs and utilising accelerated rehabilitation techniques to promote faster recovery and reduced time off work. Mr Singh completes over 200 medico legal reports per year and offers an efﬁcient turnaround within 10 days from receipt of all relevant documentation. He can take instructions for cases on behalf of either claimant or defendant. Clients can be seen in clinic locations in Bedford and Milton Keynes.
T: 01908 305127 M: 07968 013 803 • www.orthopaedicexpertwitness.net E: firstname.lastname@example.org • www.shoulderelbowhand.org
www.northamptonshirelawsociety.co.uk Untitled-1 1
THANK YOU! -
THE WORK OF THE LEGAL ACTION GROUP An article by Phillip Taylor MBE, Richmond Green Chambers
Northamptonshire Law Society
Already known to many involved in legal issues and the courts, the work of the Legal Action Group (LAG) has achieved the highest status and recognition for its authoritative legal publications since the group was formed in 1972. Many people have benefited from their prestigious legal output, but some may not know much about the organisation so here is a short snapshot of what they do.
What is LAG? LAG developed its role from a desire to encourage a more active approach to the delivery of legal services for the role and requirements of non-lawyers. A major concern was the inadequate access to advice for private inner-city tenants and all matters concerning housing law. In November 1971, four prominent solicitors called a meeting which was attended by about 80 advisers, lawyers and academics. Their aim was to raise money for an information service and to monitor the delivery of legal services around the country. The initiative led to the founding of the Legal Action Group in November 1972. By 2017, LAG had celebrated its 45th anniversary and has earned the grateful
thanks of a generation of litigants for their practical advice. The purpose of LAG, as a national, independent charity, continues to promote equal access to justice for all members of society who are socially, economically or otherwise disadvantaged. To this end, it seeks to improve law and practice, the administration of justice and legal services. And it does just that for you will see LAG titles in every main court in the country and in many reference libraries today. LAG’s mission statement is committed to improving access to justice by promoting equal access to justice as a fundamental democratic right, and in a non-political way. Practitioners know that justice demands both fairness of process and result. LAG rightly remains an independent organisation from providers and funders of legal services whilst seeking to represent the interests of the public, particularly the vulnerable and socially excluded, by improving legal services, the law and the administration of justice. LAG’s strategic aims include the development of policy ideas around increased funding and better delivery of legal services for the vulnerable and socially excluded. It also aims to increase knowledge of legal rights particularly in
those areas of law that have the greatest impact on the vulnerable and socially excluded mainly in what I would call general welfare law comprising all aspects of housing, benefits and legal aid and advice. LAG maintains a focus of attention on the geographical and knowledge-based gaps in the provision of legal services to the public, emphasising the users’ perspective. Where possible, LAG’s aim has been to expand the market for its products, whilst maintaining an efficient and solvent business in a tough legal publishing world.
Their magazine “Legal Action”, and its books and events, allows LAG to promote policy ideas to improve the legal aid system and access to justice in general for poor and vulnerable communities. These pages include some of the articles and research reports we have published. In a short article such as this it’s difficult to evaluate LAG’s success although, as just one practitioner, I believe their success-rate of helpfulness cannot be beaten by any other organisation. In 2022 we look forward to their 50th anniversary (and another general election).
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Trying to Source Care in Rural Areas is Difficult The most recent census found that 9.3 million people (17.6% of England's population) live in rural areas. This number will include older people and people with a disability who need to live with care support. Many people have local relatives, friends, advocates who though willing are unable to provide the regular, care support that is needed. The major problem is that a lack of information surrounds all areas of the care sector with people living in rural areas finding information hardest to access. Sadly, without information, many people make choices that are later regretted. Sons and daughters visiting older parents realise they need to find out about local care services, to source additional facts, an older spouse wanting to support a wife or husband needs to know what to do to sustain their lifestyle. Many people believe that their local surgery will have the answers, but this is Angela MD. Able Community Care Ltd. rarelyGifford, the solution.
Trying to Source Care in Rural Areas is Difficult
The census found that million of any England’s population) areas.is there Whatmost carerecent support is available, how9.3 much doespeople it cost,(17.6% are there State Benefits thatlive caninberural claimed, This number will include older people and people what with aisdisability who need to live support. a local support group, what is NHS Care Support, social care, etc? Where dowith theycare get such information? Many people have local relatives, friends, advocates who though willing are unable to provide the regular, Tenssupport of thousands villages have no newspaper delivery, have no local shop, no local post office, no library, care that isofneeded.
so how does information get through about what is available in the care sector?
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For a free brochure on any of our professional care services call us today on 01603 764567
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Northamptonshire Law Society
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Northamptonshire Law Society
The Open Spaces Society In 1895 the societyâ€™s founders and early activists, including Robert Hunter and Octavia Hill, created the National Trust as a landholding body. The society then established local committees who raised money to buy threatened properties for the Trust.
Today the society continues to champion common land. This is a special, historic type of land which is privately owned VJPL[`PU`V\Y^PSSPZLHZ`1\Z[HKK but on which others have rights, of grazing or collecting V^[VHUL^^PSSVYHZHJVKPJPS[VHU wood for instance. It is a relic of the much more extensive TVYWLYJLU[HNL commons of medieval times. The society is recognised as an expert in common-land law and is a statutory consultee LSWLUZ\YL[OH[M\[\YLNLULYH[PVUZ^PSS LZHUKWH[OZPU[V^UHUKJV\U[Y` for every application for works there. Commons are important SLZ to their local communities, as people have the right to walk on all commons and to ride on many, and being undisturbed [HU[PHSSLNHJ`[V[OL6WLU:WHJLZ they are often rich in flora and fauna and archaeological VUZ\S[HZVSPJP[VYZV[OH[`V\Y^PZOLZ remains. It is therefore vital that the society examines all U`V\Y^PSS the applications for works. In 2010 the society published guidance to land managers, Finding Common Ground, on how to ensure that they take account of all those with a stake in the common before they proceed with plans which might alter its appearance or ecology. 6[OLY^H`Z[VOLSW\Z
We generally cannot afford legal representation so we make use of our in-house expertise from staff and volunteers with long experience. In 1996 we saved a footpath along the River Ouse at Oundle from being diverted to an inferior route behind Oundle Schoolâ€™s boathouses following a public inquiry at which we appeared as an objector. We take up hundreds of cases each year and we lobby parliament for better, tougher laws. We have no public funding; we depend on legacies and donations to support our vital work. C a si mp nc a e ign 18 in 65 g
The Open Spaces Society was founded in 1865 as the Commons Preservation Society. It is Britainâ€™s oldest national conservation body. In its early years it saved many commons and other open spaces in and around London: Hampstead Heath, Epping Forest and Wimbledon Common for example.
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9LTLTILY PUZ[LHKVMVYHZ^LSSHZHSLNHJ`;OPZLUHISLZ\Z[VJSHPT[OLNPM[ We also advise communities on protecting their green [OVZLVWLUZWHJLZ LZ:VJPL[`YLNPZ[LYLKJOHYP[`UV spaces, by registeringHPKYLIH[LHUK`V\JHUJSHPTHUHKKP[PVUHSYLIH[L`V\YZLSMPM`V\ them as town or village greens, WH`HOPNOLYYH[L[H_4HU`VSKLYWLVWSL^P[OPUJVTLZIL[^LLU [/LUSL`VU;OHTLZ9. )(encourage local and we authorities, parish councils and Â‰2HUKÂ‰2^OVZLHNLHSSV^HUJLPZYLK\JLKTH`HSZV Â¸;OL6WLU:WHJLZ:VJPL[` developers voluntarily to register their land as greens. This YLJLP]LHZTHSS[H_YLIH[LPU[OL`LHYVM[OLNPM[ JHTWHPNUZ[VJYLH[LHUK VY gives local people the right of recreation there and protects the JVUZLY]LJVTTVUSHUK]PSSHNL Leave us a legacy to land from being built on, ,I\RXDUHDEHQHÃ°FLDU\RUH[HFXWRULQDZLOO`V\JHU\ZLH so it can be a useful quid pro quo for NYLLUZVWLUZWHJLZHUKYPNO[Z Y`LZ[H[L help ensure that future KLLKVM]HYPH[PVU^OLYL[OLYLPZH^PZO[VILULÃ„[HJOHYP[`I\[ development. VMW\ISPJHJJLZZPU[V^UHUK generations will enjoy OH[[OLZPNUH[\YLVM[OL6WLU UVZWLJPÃ„JJOHYP[HISLILX\LZ[>OLYL[OLLZ[H[LPZSPHISL[V JV\U[Y`PU,UNSHUK LYVYV[OLYH\[OVYPZLKVMÃ„JLYVM PUOLYP[HUJL[H_[OLJVZ[[V[OLILULÃ„JPHYPLZPZT\JOSLZZ[OHU commons, open spaces and It is more difficult to claim land as a green now that the HUK>HSLZÂ¹ `ZOHSSILZ\MÃ„JPLU[KPZJOHYNL[V [OLTVUL`YLJLP]LKI`[OLJOHYP[`ILJH\ZL[OLNPM[PZ[HRLUMYVT paths, in town and country, Growth and Infrastructure Act has been passed, outlawing J` [OLLZ[H[LILMVYL[H_PZJHSJ\SH[LK the registration of greens where land is threatened with throughout England and Wales -\Y[OLYPUMVYTH[PVU development. So we are promoting an alternative means of -\Y[OLYPUMVYTH[PVU protecting land, by applying for its designation as Local Green @V\JHUJVU[HJ[[OL6WLU:WHJLZ:VJPL[`H[! @V\JHUJVU[HJ[[OL6WLU:WHJLZ:VJPL[`H[! Space in the local or neighbourhood plan. Our history of defending public paths goes back a long way. Today the society is notified of all proposed changes to public paths and where we have volunteer local correspondents we study the proposals carefully, objecting if we believe the change is against the public interest. This means that we may need to appear at public inquiries and hearings.
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Interaction is key to getting the most of your CPD Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is an integral part of any conveyancer’s progression and aptitude, as well as being an effective way to sharing expertise and best practice. Regulatory bodies such as the Council for Licensed Conveyancers and Solicitors Regulation Authority expect property practitioners to undertake CPD activities, as well as reflect on their learning and apply to their day-today working life. Any approach to gaining CPD points is valid so long as the legal professional can demonstrate that it contributes to the service they are offering. Today, participants are overwhelmed with choice as there are a host of activities to choose from, including webinars, coaching / mentoring, courses, research and events – so how best can a solicitor invest their time in CPD? Geodesys – part of Anglian Water and a leading provider of conveyancing searches for residential and commercial properties throughout England and Wales – regularly hosts a series of complimentary CPD events for conveyancers across the country. Worth three CPD points, the popular, interactive events feature industry experts like property market analyst and commentator Kate Faulkner and provide highly informative seminars looking at a mixture of topics such as the threats the modern conveyancer is exposed to and the best tools for remaining compliant. Jane Moir, Associate Solicitor for Sprake and Kingsley claimed one of the events to be: “The best CPD event I’ve attended!” “Taking time out of the office is often considered an inconvenience for busy professionals, but actually stepping away from the desk away from distractions, mingling with peers and being in a learning environment, means our events offer a wealth of benefits,” says Jonny Davey, Conveyancing Product Manager for Geodesys and regular presenter at events. •
Interaction. Delegates are encouraged to contribute to discussions which helps them benefit from shared knowledge about the industry, legislation and products available to them.
Real-life scenarios and case studies are an excellent way to apply learning back in the workplace and show what solutions are available for particular situations.
Event takeaways. Event organisers usually give participants a copy of the presentations and examples discussed to help embed learning when back in the office.
• Networking. Events provide the opportunity for delegates to network with one another as well as the presenters, extending the learning potential. • Mix it up. Cover a number of areas and topics in one fell swoop by attending a CPD event which features a mix of different topics. Conveyancers are extremely busy individuals so it’s important their time is used wisely when investing in CPD training. Events are a powerful way to interact and learn from many different professionals as well as boosting networks, confidence and knowledge.
Geodesys offers a range of conveyancing CPD options including housing industry updates, regional housing analysis, legislation updates and product training. Look out for their regional events and don’t forget they also organise in-house training to suit the needs of your team. Find out more by calling their customer services team on 0800 085 8050.
Sharing our expertise. CPD
CPD from Geodesys. All you need to know. Geodesys offers a range of conveyancing CPD options including housing industry updates, regional housing analysis, legislation updates and product training. Look out for our regional events and donâ€™t forget that we also organise in-house training to suit the needs of your team. Find out more: call Geodesys customer services on 0800 085 8050.
Northamptonshire Law Society
The final ‘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 late November edition of the Bulletin. In the last edition it was announced that I am to stand down from my role as your Society Manager in the coming months and as such this will be my last contribution to the Bulletin. My last full working day will be Thursday 13th December and your new Society Manager, Carolyn Coles will take over the reins the following day. The new contact details for Carolyn and the Society are detailed in Carolyn’s introduction to you below. It has been agreed that I will still support Carolyn with the organising of the Annual Awards dinner in March. Hopefully you will have read more about the awards earlier in the Bulletin and are already considering who you might want to nominate for recognition. There is a new Community category this year which will recognise those people who do so much for local causes. So please start thinking now and nominate and support the event. The annual quiz night with the chartered accountants at LANSCA took place at Kettering golf club on the 15th November. Some 15 teams competed and, although we were ably represented, it was
very close with just one point separating the top 2 teams, I’m sorry to say that the legal fraternity lost their crown to the accountants this time but will look to regain it in the summer quiz to be held in Northampton on a date yet to be confirmed some time in June. 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 Phil Smith - Society Manager email: firstname.lastname@example.org
On to a new ‘And Finally…’ As the new incoming manager for the society, I would like to give you a brief overview of my career and personality Firstly, a huge thank you to Phil, for giving me this opportunity and, to reassure all members that he will be close at hand to support me whilst I get to grips with the new role! My career started at Lloyds Bank, where I worked my way through various back room roles, moving to student account office, then business banking manager, and C&G mortgage advisor. Subsequently I moved into a sales and relationship role in the Lloyds Bank Cardnet business providing card acceptance to SME businesses both in the physical and digital worlds. The roads of Lincolnshire, Humberside, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire became very familiar to me over the following 10-year period. I left the bank after 18 years service and commuted from Northampton to Cowley, near Heathrow, daily, working for an American payments company (VeriFone), becoming Senior Relationship Manager to all the British banks and their card payment sales teams. After leaving to start my family, I completed various consulting roles in a wide variety of disciplines until I was able to undertake an operational management position at a local firm of solicitors. 36
Outside of work, I am kept busy with my two children, and their after-school activities. As Chairperson of the PTA I am also kept busy as a teacher’s assistant and supporting fund raising for Pitsford Primary school. I enjoy my 6am bootcamp, socialising with friends and family and am currently learning to tap dance as well as being part of a local choir! I also love international travel. I believe that I can continue Phil’s excellent example to provide you with top class service that you have enjoyed from him. I look forward to meeting you all at future events. The new contact details for the Society are:Email: sec.NLS@outlook.com Office Number: 01604 881154 (available from 8.12.18) My mobile: 07543 662572
Carolyn Coles Carolyn Coles - Society Manager
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Why Quill ’ s software development team invests heavily in Interactive Documents By Julian Bryan, Managing Director, Quill
Northamptonshire Law Society
The legal profession is never static. With always-evolving legislation, increasingly demanding clients and growing numbers of aggressive competitors, change is never far afoot. To thrive in such challenging conditions, law firms rely more than ever before upon technology.
One constant thread in this sea of change is the written word. You see, the law is all about the written word. Every single task performed by a solicitor involves the written word in some form. Law firms are document-intensive by nature and every fee earner is a content factory generating document after document as they progress through live matters, be it a client care letter sent to a new customer, completion statement in a commercial conveyancing matter, divorce petition for a matrimonial case, last will and testament for a private client or anything in between. It thus follows that the primary role of technology is to help legal practices manage the written word effectively. Software’s role is to apply as much automation as possible to generating, storing, transmitting and finding the written word including time recording throughout each of these stages. Speed and accuracy are absolutely essential.
The quicker and easier it is to produce, save, share and locate this expanding library of documents, the better for everyone, from the lawyer who can concentrate on client-facing work thereby boosting earning capacity to the compliance officer who can plan for business continuity thereby meeting Code of Conduct obligations.
Because of this, no legal software supplier can afford to be complacent about development. At Quill, software development is something we take really seriously and invest considerable resources in doing. We have 12 dedicated employees in our software development team. Led by our IT Director, Richard Salt, it’s their responsibility to research new technologies and industry trends then develop our applications in order to keep Quill at the forefront of innovation and enable our clients to control the written word to the best of their ability. Our R&D staff understand the pressures faced by today’s law firms and continually enhance our Interactive Cloud and Interactive Documents software – comprising case management, legal accounts and document management features – to empower them to work more efficiently, save administration time, spend longer earning fees, reduce operating costs and a whole raft of other benefits which drive both greater productivity (so your clients are happy!) and profitability (so your partners and investors are happy too!).
With regards to the written word, Interactive Documents – our intuitive document management module – provides tight integration between Interactive, Word and Outlook – called our Add-Ins – which allows you to spend your working day in familiar Microsoft applications with full links 38
to Interactive’s database, templates and document store.
Technology that constantly advances is a must-have tool for any forward-thinking law firm. Not only because of the productivity advantages delivered, but also for safety reasons. Without ongoing security patches and bug fixes, you’re vulnerable to the rising volumes of threats from hackers and cybercriminals whose sole purpose it is to disrupt (even ruin) your business. Software development, then, is a future-proofing promise that, whatever changes and challenges come your way, your software supplier’s got your back.
At its core, our Interactive Documents gives unique integration between Interactive Cloud, Word and Outlook saving users reentering data as a key, but by no means only, benefit. But more recently a myriad of new features have been introduced to Interactive Documents and we’re going to describe just a few of them here. We’ve created conversion to PDF and attachment as PDF functionality. As you’ll no doubt know, PDF is a secure file format. Documents of this type can’t be edited by recipients. In Interactive, it’s a one button task; job done.
Using the Interactive Add-Ins in Outlook makes tasks such as this really straightforward. By simply hitting the ‘New Quill Email’ then ‘Attach From Quill’ buttons located in the top toolbar of Outlook, single or multiple documents can be attached as PDFs even if you haven’t previously converted files to PDF format. At this point, you haven’t formally logged in to Interactive itself either; you’re using the well-known Microsoft interface instead which you’re at liberty to do all day long, should you please.
We’ve established an entire series of document and precedent templates comprising everything from credit control letters and identification forms to requests to extend time and receipt of money acknowledgements. These templates are supplied as standard with Interactive Documents. You can also choose to set up your own bespoke templates, link to merge fields in Interactive then auto-populate content direct from your database. In the same vein, popular forms packs can be purchased too as an optional extra. Linked closely to Interactive, these forms offer even more auto-database population for documents related to each of the common steps in particular matters.
This has to be one of the biggest draws of document management software – the ability to generate documents and letters in minutes. Where Interactive Documents is concerned, the same applies to emails. Ready-made email templates allow emails to be written, recipients selected from handy drop-down lists, documents attached and the entire communication saved straight back to case effortlessly, all from within Outlook itself. In fact, you can even now do so from within
Word. Auto-email the document you’ve been working on directly to the client, opposition, expert witness or any combination without switching between systems.
Integrated attendance notes are another enhancement. Either when saving a justcompleted document, receiving a document or later, the notes field permits the addition of attendance notes – that’s a description of discussions, meetings or events that have taken place – relating to that specific document.
There are two main advantages of attendance notes. One, the important notes are logged both for future reference and to support your accompanying time record so there’s no chance of forgetting further down the line. Two, entering your attendance notes as you go along saves you an extra task and negates the need for double billing which assists with client satisfaction. Time recording generally is worth a mention. Our overhauled Interactive Documents lets you make time entries at various touchpoints when writing, uploading or dispatching caserelated documentation and correspondence. With the ability to perform these stages quickly, you can record more units of time than the task has actually taken to bill clients appropriately for actions completed and boost chargeable time in the process. In other words, do less and earn more.
These are just a few of many improvements to Interactive Documents. To refer to some others, you can set up calendar events from Word and Outlook with reminders to ensure defined milestones are met; maintain a full audit trail with version-control-stamped documents; assign colours, labels and preview before opening to locate the right documents with ease; access your cloudstored documents from anywhere with an internet connection to become more mobile; tailor sub folders to your preferences so Interactive mirrors how you work; store unlimited quantities of documents, emails and images without taking up valuable space on your own servers; protect your vital records with industrial-strength security measures and in-built disaster recovery planning; and much, much more besides. The combination of these multiple features means you can run your legal practice competitively, with minimum support staff, at low cost. A ‘Lite’ version of Interactive Documents is provided as part of your Interactive licence fee. Alternatively, an advanced ‘Professional’ version is charged at just £17 per user per month for full integration with the Microsoft Office suite. Exploit our heavy financial investment in Interactive Documents without breaking your bank. The written word; sorted.
To find out more on our Pinpoint outsourced legal cashiering service, please visit www. quill.co.uk/Outsourced-Legal-Cashiering, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0161 236 2910.
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