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Legal

NEWS

FEBRUARY 2018 THE MAGAZINE OF THE CONFEDERATION OF THE SOUTH WALES LAW SOCIETIES

CARDIFF & DISTRICT ANNUAL DINNER 2018 Turn to page 13 for booking information


LEGAL NEWS

CONTENTS Editorial Board Emma Waddingham - Editor Michael Walters - Secretary Johnathan Hine David Dixon

Editorial copy to Emma Waddingham Email: emma@emmawaddingham.com

Designed & Produced by PW Media & Publishing Ltd

Managing Editor Dawn Pardoe

Graphic Design Paul Blyth

PRESIDENT REPORTS

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Suzie Scott Tel: 01905 727904 Email: suzie@pw-media.co.uk Printed By Stephens & George The articles published in Legal News represent the views of the contributor and are not necessarily the official views of the Confederation of South Wales Law Societies, Cardiff & District Law Society, or of the Editorial Board. The magazine

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Johnathan Hine Welcome to 2018!

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Rachelle Sellek On The Home Straight...

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Mel Bevan-Evans Plans Afoot

10 CILEx Cardiff & South East Wales Annual Dinner! 11 Cardiff and South East Wales Junior Lawyers Division

or members of the Editorial Board are in no way liable for such opinions. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure that the contents of this issue are accurate, we cannot be held responsible for any

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inaccuracies or late changes. No article,

14 CDLS Awards 2018: Send Us Your Nominations!

print, may be reproduced without written

advertisement or graphic, in whole or in

permission of the publishers.

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PRESIDENT REPORTS

WELCOME TO 2018! A Happy New Year to you all. I trust you all enjoyed a peaceful and relaxed Christmas and New Year break. I know that I did, though from the week of ‘blue Monday’ onwards, it all seems so long ago and also so far off! Still, the days are getting longer and the weather is turning into ‘proper’ winter. There is much to look forward to.

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vents on the Presidential front have remained quiet. Indeed, the Confederation as a whole is quiet and both a Council meeting and our AGM are now seriously overdue. Time waits for no man, as the saying goes, and the fraught run up to Christmas has meant that there has been less time to organise events and the like. I am arranging to call the first Council meeting of 2018 as soon as possible, with a view to discussing the future of the Confederation in general at our AGM shortly thereafter. The AGM will be advertised and I would welcome input from any source on this crucial issue. More to follow. Elsewhere, even with the Christmas break, events continue to unfold in sometimes surprising a manner. Who would have thought, even three months ago, that North and South Korea would agree to attend the Winter Olympics together, let alone march under one flag? The apparent lessening of tensions in that part of the world can only be regarded as a relief. What it means for the future remains unclear but dialogue as opposed to posturing with a finger hovering over a nuclear button is always going to be the better option! I am equally surprised that President Trump has not sought to take the credit for any of this. There is still time however... Anyone looked at his Twitter account recently? I read with some scepticism of President Trump’s recent medical examination. Not scepticism as regards its happening, but as regards its result. The inclusion of a cognitive test, apparently at the President’s request, I found bemusing. Unless this was an attempt to explain his erratic behaviour. The BBC published an extract of this test on their website recently. I thought it interesting to attempt the sample test, merely for information you understand. I was somewhat taken aback at the questions. They were all multi-choice and the first asked you to read the time on a clock. The remainder (there were only five in total in the sample) were of a similar level of complexity. In short, I am not overly convinced that the test indicates any form of cognitive ability above the mundane. I suppose, however, we now have the reassurance of knowing that the President of the United States of America can, at least, tell the time! I am sure the rest of the world rests a lot easier in its bed at night as a result! At home the news has been dominated by the normal winter panic over the NHS, some rather unsavoury reports over the state of some of our prisons and the usual political arguments. Not a lot new there then. I do get somewhat tired of the NHS crisis talk each year. The NHS is a fine organisation and the envy of virtually every other nation on earth. When, however, are we going to accept that a service that is free at the point of delivery is always going to face a greater demand than its resources can meet? It you set up a solicitors practice offering free advice and case handling, you would be inundated. If you opened a shop offering to give goods away (it being immaterial, probably, what the goods were), you would have to call in the Police to diffuse the ensuing riot. Is it not surprising, therefore, that where a service is free to its users, they use the service. Coupled with our ageing population, the demands of the users (which are almost infinite) are

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always going to exceed the limit of the resources, which are finite. In such a service we therefore need to be both pragmatic and realistic as to its ability to meet all needs consistently. A degree of patience with those that supply the services and work extremely hard in doing so would not go amiss, rather than a continual gripe that the service provided is less than perfect. In saying this I readily accept that great assistance would be given to the NHS if the public at large actually thought about whether they really need to be in A & E, need that ambulance or can cancel their GP appointment in advance rather than simply not attending. Were these three areas alone addressed, I am sure the position and performance of the service as a whole would be vastly improved. The issue in the media that has really caught my eye in recent days is the impending release of John Worboys, the so called ‘black cab rapist’. This story has attracted media attention largely as a result of this person’s notoriety and the appalling crimes for which he was first imprisoned. His release by the Parole Board has, on one level, raised understandable concerns. The failure to notify his original victims of his impending release was, clearly, extremely unfortunate to say the least. However, am I the only one to be profoundly disturbed by the implications of all that has been said and reported? I make no comment on the original conviction or sentence. Those are matters of fact and the crimes of which the perpetrator was convicted were horrendous on any view. The sentence imposed was just according to law. I was dismayed to learn that additional complaints have not, to date, been investigated. However, that is something that can still be addressed. What concerns me about all this is the apparent view in the medial, with politicians and others at large, that ‘society’ can in some way dictate when, if at all, people like this are released from imprisonment. Further, that such persons should be detained indefinitely due to the view taken by the public at large over the seriousness of their offending. I reiterate, I make no comment on the severity of this person’s offending. That is clear. However, he was convicted and sentenced by a court of competent jurisdiction. He has served more than the minimum term imposed by the trial judge. Even at that point, however, he is not entitled to be released unless and until the Parole Board decide that he poses no risk to the public in future. The Parole Board have considered the case. It has heard the evidence in that regard and it has reached its decision. Perhaps the secretive nature of the parole hearing has not assisted here but ‘due process’ (as the Americans would insist on) has occurred. Against this background I struggle to accept the view that, notwithstanding all the above, society at large is entitled to insist on this person’s continued incarceration simply because of its revulsion at the original crimes for which convictions were achieved and its fear over offences as yet untried and for which there has been, as yet, no conviction. Mr. Worboys has served the sentence imposed on him and been released by the Parole Board in accordance with that sentence. From listening to the reports and reading the press, the implication is that the original trial, conviction and sentence were in some way wrong. I struggle


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A with that. The man was convicted of the offences for which he came before the court and was sentenced accordingly. That prosecuting authorities took the view that only a specimen series of charges should be tried is an issue. But that was the decision at the time. The system has worked as it should. That we do not like the result of the Parole Board review is only as a result of the decisions made around the prosecution at the outset. Further, the decision of the Parole Board is one it was entitled to reach on the evidence it heard. Lambasting an institution that carries out essential work in the justice system in such circumstances seems to me to be unfortunate.

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My best wishes to you all for 2018. May it prove prosperous and enjoyable for you all. l Jonathan Hine President OF THE Confederation of South Wales Law Societies JonathanH@jacklyndawson.co.uk

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Surely the issue here is the soundness or otherwise of the original charging decisions and the original investigation into this individual and his crimes? If that has been in any way lacking (I make no comment one way or the other), we should have the courage to stand up and accept that, then set about putting any errors right. Otherwise, the real threat is that the “mob” will dictate decisions in this area. There is a real threat in my view of an attempt to sidestep the criminal justice system in the guise of “public opinion”. If this is allowed to happen, we return to the lawless state of ancient history. It is this subtext that has caused me the most concern, especially in a country such as ours with such an ancient reputation for not only fair play, but the outstanding quality of its justice system. I sincerely hope that both will be preserved notwithstanding this current storm. I trust you have all had an easy start to the New Year. Mine was not helped with a County Court trial listed on 4 January 2018! Fortunately the parties resolved their differences, but only at the 11th hour! An interesting start to the New Year!

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PRESIDENT REPORTS

On the home straight... I can’t believe that I have only got four months left as President of CDLS. Time has flown by and it has been very busy and very enjoyable.

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here’s still lots to come though starting with our seminar on the new Welsh Land Transaction Tax on 27 February in the Park Plaza. With speakers from the new Welsh Revenue Authority and Land Registry amongst others it promises to be interesting and informative. The Welsh Land Transaction Tax, which is Wales’ own version of stamp duty land tax and is due to come into effect on 1 April (no not an April’s fool), marks a high point in devolution of powers in Wales as it will be the first (along with the new Landfill Tax) purely Welsh tax - albeit one that has come into being in response to a change in the financial settlement provided by UK Government to Welsh Government which no longer includes payment of SDLT. If taxes are not your thing we will have more fun to come. The CDLS charity quiz is currently being organised so watch out for more information on that and another charity golf day is in the planning although we may wait for some warmer weather for the latter! Both events will be raising money for the Ronald McDonald House adjacent to Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital in Cardiff as will our flagship event, the President’s Annual Dinner that will be held on 27 April at The Exchange Hotel in Cardiff. (Please visit the ‘events’ page on our website cardifflaw.org to book your tickets and claim your member discount!) Last year over 250 people attended our Annual Dinner and I hope to see many of you there again this year. The dinner will see the presentation of CDLS’ annual awards – the award for the most promising LPC student at Cardiff Law School, the award for the best junior lawyer and the Simon Mumford award for overall contribution to the profession. (See our article titled ‘Send us your nominations’ for submission details) I’m looking forward to reading the submissions and I expect the judging to be close again reflecting the high quality of those working and studying in the region. Revelations in 2017 saw a string of high profile stories of sexual harassment across the worlds of politics, Hollywood, religion and sport. It would be naive of us to assume that the legal profession is immune to such things. There are many common factors including the prevalence of men who largely continue to occupy positions of power in firms and in the judiciary although that is slowly but surely starting to change. According to Legal Week*, nearly two thirds of female lawyers have experienced some form of sexual harassment. 82% of these did not report it to their firms. The fact that we don’t often hear of sexual harassment in law firms does not mean that it isn’t there and it isn’t happening. Those on the receiving end of harassment both verbal and physical need to know that if they speak out they will be heard and taken seriously, not just that it would be career suicide to do so with firms closing ranks on those that dare to say ‘me too’. I am pleased to see that the Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, has ordered a review of all current rape and serious sexual assault cases by the CPS to ensure that the disclosure obligations are being met. This follows a number of trials which have collapsed late in the day after evidence, particularly digital evidence, emerged that should have come to light sooner. Hopefully the review will not reveal systemic failings although if any individuals are facing charges that are unwarranted due to problems in

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disclosure then it is better that this is known as soon as possible. That isn’t really the point. The most important thing is that we need our criminal justice system to stand up to scrutiny. Those who report crimes need to know that they will be properly investigated while those who stand accused need to know that they will receive a fair trial of the evidence. We all need to believe that our system is fair and will deliver justice for everyone involved. That after all is what sits at the heart of a fair and democratic society. We now have a new Lord Chancellor. At least this time we have a lawyer taking office and a solicitor for the first time. However, he becomes the third person in that role in the last 18 months with his predecessor David Lidington lasting a scarce six months. Does that say anything about the present government’s commitment to the justice system? Clearly Brexit is taking the lion’s share of attention at the moment and rightly so but upholding the rule of law should not be relegated to the side lines. The Great Legal Bake is taking place from 12 to 16 February this year to raise funds to support local advice agencies and charities through Reaching Justice Wales. Last year saw over £30,000 raised nationally, which is an awful lot of cake! My firm, Acuity Legal took part last year with cakes, biscuits and other treats appearing daily and disappearing quickly. I was unable to participate in the Cardiff Legal Walk last year due to other commitments but pledge to do my bit by eating cake this year! I may even join in the baking but perhaps I’ll opt for something savoury as an antidote to all that sugar. • Two thirds of female lawyers have experienced sexual harassment at work, research finds – Legal Week 17 October 2017. l Rachelle Sellek President OF THE Cardiff & District Law Society yourvoice@cardifflaw.org


PRESIDENT REPORTS

PLANS AFOOT I do hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year!

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onmouthshire Incorporated Law Society held a Christmas Social Event at ‘MEAT’ on 6 December, which was well attended and indeed very enjoyable. It is always a good opportunity to mix with colleagues and fellow Members in this way and we are planning many similar social events this year, to be advised. We are also planning some courses during the year and details of the same will be provided in good time.   The Christmas period and New Year have been busy for us all I’m sure. The New Year is certainly a very busy time for matrimonial solicitors with ‘Divorce Day’ taking place on 8 January 2018. I this respect, I have been mostly in court for the first two weeks of January so it is now time to catch up on the rest of my caseload!   The AGM The date for our AGM has changed to Thursday 8 February 2018 at 5pm at the Holiday Inn, Newport, with light refreshments. All are welcome and we do hope to see you there – it would be helpful if you could advise of your attendance by contacting us (please email enquiries@monlawsoc. co.uk). Anyone wishing to become involved in the Committee and running of the Society are most welcome.  

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Presidential Plans I am very much looking forward to becoming President of the Society and looking to expand the Society’s Members and benefits to members as indicated previously, although there is quite a lot of work involved in this respect! Running my legal practice and my other businesses is rather onerous, along with managing a family home with three young children! I am really looking forward to finalising plans for this year’s Annual Dinner in Monmouthshire and will share those details as soon as I can. I am driven to creating some great events and networking opportunities for lawyers and affiliated professionals in the months to come so please do watch this space!   Finally, I wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year and look forward to seeing many of you at the AGM. l Mel Bevan-Evans Vice-President Monmouthshire Incorporated Law Society


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FEATURES

CILEx Cardiff & South East Wales Annual Dinner! I am pleased to announce that tickets for the hugely popular CILEx Cardiff & South East Wales Annual Branch Dinner are on sale now!

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his year’s dinner will be held in the beautiful surroundings of Cardiff Bay at the St David’s Hotel and Spa on Saturday 24 March 2018. I am proud to say that the event is always a highlight of the local legal calendar and I look forward to hosting you, alongside CILEx Council members, the Branch committee, CILEx members, our special guests and law firms from across the district. The Dinner starts at 6:30pm with a sparkling drinks reception before the evening’s events.

All past, present and potential Branch Members are welcome to attend the AGM but only paid-up members of the Branch and eligible to vote.

The annual dinner is always a very popular event; to avoid disappointment, please ensure you contact me via alexis.thomas@new-law.co.uk to book your seat.

I look forward to seeing you at the AGM and the Annual Dinner to celebrate another brilliant year for our members, their personal successes, the development of the Branch and the support from employers and others in our local legal community. l

AGM 2018 & Membership Renewals As it is now the beginning of 2018 we must turn our attention to membership renewals and to the Annual General Meeting, which will take place at 6.15pm on Monday 5th February 2018 at NewLaw Solicitors, Helmont House, Churchill Way, Cardiff, CF10 2HE.

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If you would like to become a member of the Branch for the year 2018 please contact Catherine Thompson, the Branch secretary, via Catherine. Thompson@huttons-solicitors.co.uk who will send the Membership form and further details.

Alexis Thomas, Branch Chair


FEATURES

C&SEW Junior Lawyers Division In 2016, I joined the Cardiff and South East Wales Junior Lawyers Division (C&SEW JLD) Committee as the Events Co-ordinator, not really knowing what the organisation was really about. My colleagues told me ‘go for it’ and so I did. I definitely don’t regret my decision!

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y time spent as the Events Co-ordinator showed me exactly what the C&SEW JLD Committee is about, how it works and the huge benefits we bring to our local legal community. Almost one year later, I am privileged to take over as its Chair and, together with the newly elected Committee, I proudly represent the junior lawyers of Cardiff and South East Wales and can build upon our success. What a year 2016/2017 was for the C&SEW JLD Committee! We have seen a constantly high engagement and support from our members that resulted in all of our events being sell-outs and more local businesses showing an interest in collaborating with us. We co-hosted the Great Legal Quiz 2017 with Cardiff and District Law Society and CILEx on the 8 November. We hosted over 130 of the brightest heads in the legal community who went head-to-head to raise almost £750 for Reaching Justice Wales! This only emphasises the level of engagement we see from our members on an event-by-event basis and the fact that they are a big, if not the biggest, factor of our success. It was also fantastic to work with the South Wales branch of CILEx and Cardiff and District Law Society on this event, to open our members up to other and more senior members of the local legal community. As does Legal News! There is a lot to look forward to in terms of our future events. We have a more events in the pipeline that need finalising, such as a speed-networking event with local law firms in March/April, a boat party and many more, so watch this space for details as I aim to use Legal News as a forum to spread the word!

My personal ambition, as the newly elected Chair for this year, is to introduce a JLD Membership Card for our members. Moreover, I am confident to say, that this is one of the biggest projects that C&SEW JLD has ever been working on and one that also has the support of CDLS. I also look forward to working on this project with the regional Legal Practice Course providers - Cardiff University and University of South Wales – on helping us to promote it and to bring the card to the LPC students automatically at the beginning of every academic year starting September 2018, once they enrol and start their lectures. The JLD Membership Card is an outcome of many long discussions on giving our members something in return for their constant support. Therefore, the card will give them benefits such as reduced ticket prices to the JLD events and discounts in gyms, pubs, restaurants and cinemas - the businesses that our Committee is very well connected with. Besides the JLD Membership Card and interesting events, as the Chair, I aim to create a better relationship with other local law groups (including the Confederation), regional universities and law firms in Cardiff and South East Wales which should result in a wellfunctioning and active Welsh legal network. One thing is for sure; your local JLD has never been in better shape! l Michael Zajdel Chair of Cardiff and South East Wales Junior Lawyers Division Committee of the Law Society

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FEATURES

Data protection law evolves into a new niche We are at present seemingly swamped by marketing materials which are keen to point out the financial consequences of non compliance with the new EU wide data protection regulation, the GDPR1, which is due to come into force on 25th May 2018.

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his legislation, despite the inevitable cost to business in terms of change to process and procedure, is badly needed for the protection of all of us. The stealing of personal data for nefarious reasons is becoming more and more common and it is right that the law evolves to protect its citizens. Hailed by many as a “revolution”, we prefer to think of it as an “evolution” to fill a niche largely created by e-communication. For those of us involved in resolving family law cases using DNA testing technology, there are now some additional considerations, notably those relating to genetic information that could have derived from, say, a paternity test. For the first time, these data, along with biometric data are specifically mentioned in the legislation and are classified as sensitive personal information, along with religious beliefs, physical and mental health and ethnic origin. This is long overdue. Nothing is closer to your very being than your own unique genetic code. Analysis of your genes can already tell a lot about you, in the future this will be substantially more. Predicting (yes predicting, not just diagnosing) diseases, abilities or preferences all come under the spotlight. For those of you that think that the ability of ISPs to present advertisements based on your surfing activity is bad enough, it is truly little compared to what could be done with access to your genetic data. The key to unlocking your code is the physical DNA itself, which can be isolated from a bodily sample, most simply a cheek swab or saliva sample to collect some cells from inside the mouth. In a paternity test we look at regions of DNA that are to be found throughout your personal DNA code (your genome). For the most part, these regions (the DNA profile) have no functional consequence, they are just markers in the sand. They are powerful enough though, to identify your immediate family and who is, or is not, the father of a child. It is this DNA profile that you may hear about as being stored on DNA databases and retrieved for example, in connection with a crime. More imperative to consider is the rise of companies which obtain your DNA sample and sequence the entire genome or make a detailed map, thus providing you with a report on say, your distant ancestry or changes in your genome which relate to disease pre-disposition or other characteristics. These data are necessarily far from complete and conclusions are far from absolute, yet these providers often continue to hold the DNA, sample and data. Consumers may find that they have agreed to retention of their DNA and the sharing of their genetic data (sometimes with payment) with third parties for other purposes. The consent these companies have obtained from consumers is not a fully informed consent as there may be risks and consequences that currently cannot be foreseen. The retention of genetic information is in fact broader than that too... such information is being held by healthcare providers and by universities and indeed, sometimes without limitation of time. You may have heard of “biobanks”, where genetic

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information is held for the purpose of “research”…i.e. DNA data mining, which is often carrying a tenuous rationality. This is precisely why GDPR is needed, consent buried in T&Cs is not a fair consent and the explicit “opt-in” required under GDPR will mean that consumers genetic data cannot now just be held in the expectation that an opportunity will arise for the testing company, without the consent of the donor to the use of their data in the new circumstances. GDPR also means that there will need to be accountability for the genetic data stored and how it is used. This is in no part a complete block on important genetic developments; GDPR is quite rightly asking for accountability for the DNA data, as it does with other pieces of Personally Identifiable Information (PII). In family law cases, which generally involved DNA profiling, reasonable steps must be taken to protect clients data. Given the complexity of the cases we generally have to deal with, e.g. multiple solicitors representing different clients, the involvement of social services and local authorities, court orders, private individuals and international cases (including immigration), there is a veritable minefield of responsibility which must be attended to under GDPR. Coupled with the need of many to improve general internal practices (location of data, how it is used and shared, accessing from off site, cloud storage) GDPR will bring significant audit responsibility to the legal profession and it subcontractors. We stand ready to work with you on these complex issues. What will arise will be a better system where genetic and other data is properly accounted for. l Dr Neil Sullivan, BSc., MBA (DIC), LLM, PhD. General Manager, Complement Genomics Ltd. trading as www.dadcheckgold.com (1) The General Data Protection Regulation. See https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/ guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/


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FEATURES

CDLS Awards 2018: Send us your nominations! Do you know a lawyer who has made an outstanding contribution to our local legal community, a junior lawyer who is one to watch or an LPC student whose star is shining brightly?

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hen please nominate them for one of the Cardiff & District Law Society annual awards – announced at a glitzy ceremony at the CDLS Annual Dinner 2018 on 27 April at The Exchange Hotel (more details and booking are available via the www.cardifflaw.org events page).

Nominations for these awards should be sent to the President, Rachelle Sellek, at RSellek@acuitylegal.co.uk or by post to Rachelle Sellek, Acuity Legal, 3 Assembly Square, Britannia Quay, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff CF10 4PL, to be received by 31 March 2018.

The awards and criteria are as follows:

Please provide as much information as possible to support the nomination. The awards will be judged by a panel comprising the President, Immediate Past President, Senior Vice President, Junior Vice President and Administrator of the Society. The Awards will be presented at the Society’s Annual dinner at Cardiff City Hall on Friday 27 April 2018. l

LPC Student of the Year Sponsored by Acuity Legal This prize is awarded to the best performing LPC student of the year at Cardiff Law School. Junior Lawyer of the Year – Sponsored by SLD Wealth Management Junior solicitors (with less than 5 years PQE) and trainee solicitors practising within the Cardiff and District Law Society area are eligible for this award. Nominees will be considered based on their reputation, acumen, professionalism, commitment to clients and others including involvement in the community, leadership and energy. Simon Mumford Memorial Award The Simon Mumford Memorial Award is made annually to a lawyer who works or resides (or has done) within the Law Society’s South Wales Constituency area in recognition of his or her contribution to the Law and the legal profession. We encourage you to nominate persons for contributions at all levels and of any nature, to reflect the variety of ways in which Simon applied his endeavours to support and promote the law, the legal profession and those who serve it.

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