News

Government presses ahead with whiplash reforms – but gives ground on other PI claims

Liz Truss

The small claims limit will rise to £5,000 for whiplash cases, but only £2,000 for other personal injury claims, the Ministry of Justice announced today in a bid “to crack down on the compensation culture epidemic” – less than seven weeks after its consultation closed. There will be a fixed tariff to cap whiplash compensation pay-outs.

February 23rd, 2017

Relate puts pioneering online divorce project on hold

divorce

A project to create the first online dispute resolution system for divorcing and separating couples in the UK has been put on hold, Legal Futures has been told. Relate, the country’s largest provider of relationship support, received no government funding for the project, and instead relied on private backers, including Google.

February 23rd, 2017

CILEx unveils governance rethink with an eye to regulatory independence

Martin Callan

The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) has unveiled major governance reform that it said prepares the body for the government making legal regulators entirely independent. Crucially, it said the changes would ensure that CILEx continues to be viable as a professional body without receiving any income from practising fees.

February 23rd, 2017

Online court “visible by September and no big bang”, top judge reveals

Sir Ernest Ryder

The first signs of an online court will be visible in tribunals by September, online processes will be extended to a wide range of civil court proceedings by May 2020, and the reforms will be incremental, according to one of the judges in charge.

February 22nd, 2017

Court of Appeal: law firms must comply with data requests even if purpose is to aid litigation

confidential stamp

Law firms must comply with data requests even if the purpose for seeking the documents is assisting in litigation, the Court of Appeal has ruled. Overturning the High Court, Lady Justice Arden held that a data request was not invalid if made for the “collateral purpose of assisting in litigation”.

February 22nd, 2017

Ministry of Justice plays down job loss fears over whiplash reforms

whiplash exam by doctor

The Ministry of Justice has rejected the suggestion that as many as 60,000 jobs could be lost as a result of its personal injury reforms, saying that the legal market has “long proven itself to be adaptable and innovative”.

February 21st, 2017

Lord Chief Justice “strongly opposes” accountants’ bid to handle litigation and advocacy work

Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd LCJ

The Lord Chief Justice has outlined his “strong opposition” to a bid to allow accountants to handle tax litigation and advocacy work – and in return come under fire from the body that would regulate them. Lord Thomas described the application by the Institute for Chartered Accountants in England and Wales as “entirely premature”.

February 21st, 2017

UK first as Ulster University launches legal innovation centre

Professor Paddy Nixon

Ulster University launched the UK’s first legal innovation centre last night, bringing together its law school, school of computing and intelligent systems, and global law firms Allen & Overy and Baker McKenzie. It aims to operate at the intersection between legal process innovation, technology and access to justice.

February 21st, 2017

Downward trend in conveyancing firms stopped in its tracks as work volumes rise

Mark Riddick Search Acumen chairman

The total number of law firms registering conveyancing transactions rose 4% in 2016 to 5,572, halting five years going the other way, and they are busier than before the financial crash, new figures have shown. However, the overall trend of active conveyancing firms has been steeply downwards in the last decade.

February 21st, 2017

Lawyers sue to discover extent of information obtained by “corporate spy”

Harminder Bains

A solicitor and barrister who act for an anti-asbestos campaign are in a legal battle over what confidential and privileged information was passed on by a supposed TV documentary maker who was actually placed in the campaign to spy on its activities.

February 20th, 2017

Convicted solicitor was “naive but not dishonest”, says tribunal

Singapore

The solicitor convicted of transferring criminal property after being taken in by a charismatic conman posing as the Pope’s banker was naïve but not dishonest, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal has said in explaining why it considered a £2,000 fine sufficient penalty for her misconduct.

February 20th, 2017

Legal Services Board launches probe into whether Law Society fetters SRA’s independence

Law Society - Front1

The Legal Services Board has stepped up the pressure on the Law Society’s role as the approved regulator of solicitors by announcing a formal investigation into whether the Solicitors Regulation Authority has sufficient independence.

February 17th, 2017

Law firm insurer fails in High Court bid to recover property fraud losses from solicitor

money laundering2

A highly experienced solicitor who breached the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 in a property transaction that led to a £500,000 fraud did not act dishonestly, the High Court has ruled. As a result, it dismissed a subrogated claim brought by the insurers of London law firm Pemberton Greenish to make her cover what they had to pay out.

February 17th, 2017

You’re all through – good news for 1,000 lawyers who should have been eliminated from recorder competition

Courthouse

A thousand solicitors and barristers who would have been eliminated from the recorder appointment competition but for a meltdown of the Judicial Appointments Commission’s website on Wednesday have instead got through to the next round.

February 17th, 2017

Two law firms ‘named and shamed’ over minimum wage breaches

Fifty pence piece

Two law firms have found themselves ‘named and shamed’ in the government’s latest list of businesses that failed to pay workers the national minimum wage – although for one of them it amounted to an underpayment of 50p a week.

February 17th, 2017

Legal Futures Blog

Rating lawyers by their wins and losses – a good idea?

Robert Ambrogi

Lawyers will give you any number of reasons why their win-loss rates in court are not accurate reflections of their legal skills. Yet a growing number of companies are evaluating lawyers by this standard – compiling and analysing lawyers’ litigation track records to help consumers and businesses make more-informed hiring decisions. The shortcomings of evaluating lawyers by win rates are many. Not least of them is that so few cases ever make it to a win or loss. Of equal concern is that, in the nuances of law practice, it is not always obvious what constitutes a win or a loss.

February 22nd, 2017