Tory MPs lobby Truss to get on with whiplash reform

Chris Philp

A group of Conservative MPs will next week lobby justice secretary Liz Truss to press ahead with the proposed personal injury reforms. Last week it emerged that the long-awaited consultation on raising the small claims limit and removing general damages for low-value soft-tissue injuries has been unexpectedly put on the backburner.

October 19th, 2016

Law firms need “culture of experimentation” before they can embrace IT transformation

Nick West 2 (Small)

Law firms need to radically change their cultures to embrace emerging technologies such as cognitive computing – including suppressing their tendency to be risk averse – according to the head of strategy at a leading London practice.

October 19th, 2016

Ministry of Justice “can get house in order” on Brexit, says top mandarin

Richard Heaton

The Ministry of Justice can get its “house in order” on Brexit, permanent secretary Richard Heaton has promised MPs. The comment came as Mr Heaton told the justice select committee the MoJ hoped to raise £300m from its latest round of 86 court closures, in an attempt to meet further budget cuts.

October 19th, 2016

SRA makes direct independence plea to government

The Conservative Party Hold Their Annual Party Conference - Day 2

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has made a direct plea to government to use next month’s Autumn Statement to make good on the plan announced in last year’s to grant it full independence from the Law Society.

October 18th, 2016

Briggs urges barristers to embrace direct access

Lord Justice Briggs

The Bar has nothing to fear from an online court, but it must take direct access “seriously”, Lord Justice Briggs has said. In particular, he said, the young Bar, which “excels” in providing a “competitive” service, would be well placed to play its part in the new court.

October 18th, 2016

NextLaw adds ‘smart contracts’ pioneer to start-ups portfolio

Internet connection

A company buildings contracts that automatically monitor enforcement and one producing software that harmonises legal compliance are among the latest investments to be added to the portfolio of NextLaw Labs, the legal tech subsidiary of global law firm Dentons.

October 18th, 2016

Judges prepare profession for ODR across less complex cases and court administration in the cloud

Sir Ernest Ryder at BC 2016

Online dispute resolution “will become the norm for much of the less complex work in civil, family and tribunals jurisdictions”, the Senior President of Tribunals said over the weekend. Meanwhile, it was also predicted that the administration of justice across all courts and tribunals could be transferred to the “cloud” within the next four years.

October 17th, 2016

“Growing interest” in barrister-run ABSs


The Bar’s regulator will take a “cautious” approach to licencing alternative business structures (ABSs) and look closely at non-lawyer owners to ensure no “naughty” behaviour, but said over the weekend that there is strong interest in the possibilities on offer.

October 17th, 2016

Law students build app aimed at helping crime victims

Ludwig Bull LawBot

Four Cambridge university law students have created a free artificial intelligence ‘chatbot’ using natural language input with the aim of clarifying whether a criminal offence has taken place and making it more likely the police will take victims of crime seriously.

October 17th, 2016

Trio of partners punished for allowing client account to be used as banking facility


Three partners at well-known London law firm Fladgate have been sanctioned by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal for allowing its client account to be used as a banking facility. Just over £4m went in and out of client account without any underlying legal transaction, in breach of the accounts rules.

October 14th, 2016

Law Society fends off criticism of how it assures quality of CQS firms

Law Society - Front2

Claims that the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme does little to actually check the quality of the work solicitors do have been rejected by Chancery Lane. It was reported recently that since the scheme was launched in 2010, assessors have visited only 12 of the 3,000-plus members of the scheme.

October 14th, 2016

Survey predicts partnerships out, ABS in


Most lawyers expect the law firm partnership model to wither over the next decade, as the legal services market embraces alternative business structures and technology, while ditching hourly billing – according to a new survey.

October 14th, 2016

Government shelves personal injury reform

James Dalton

The government has unexpectedly shelved its reform of personal injury claims – at least for now, it has emerged today. An email from the Association of British Insurers, seen by Legal Futures, said “the Secretary of State has decided she does not want to proceed with the reforms at the moment”.

October 13th, 2016

High Court throws out £5m fraud claim against solicitor and legal executive

rcj 2

The High Court has thrown out a £5m fraud and conspiracy claim against a newly qualified solicitor and experienced legal executive who acted for a Docklands developer. Mr Justice Mann said the pair had suffered “years of anxiety” as a result of the claim, “culminating in a trial which they should not have had”.

October 13th, 2016

SRA imposes conditions on PwC’s new ABS licence


The Solicitors Regulation Authority has imposed conditions on PricewaterhouseCoopers’ new alternative business structure licence to ensure that lawyers working for the ‘big four’ firm continue to observe key principles of conduct when handling unreserved work.

October 13th, 2016

Legal Futures Blog

Delivering a first-class service experience

Helen Hamilton Shaw 2

I visit a lot of different businesses in the course of my job – both law firms and other types of organisations. This gives me a unique opportunity to compare how the legal sector is shaping up against the commercial world in how they welcome visitors to their business, and it’s fair to say that those that go the extra mile certainly stand out.

October 21st, 2016