News

Government to press ahead with raising PI small claims limit as ABI figures show motor fraud is falling

Sam Gyimah

The Ministry of Justice has confirmed that the Civil Liability Bill will, as expected, include rises in the small claims limit for personal injury claims and a fixed tariff for compensation as a former Goldman Sachs banker has been given responsibility for steering it through the House of Commons.

July 19th, 2017

“Satisfaction levels do not tell the whole story” – consumer panel defends survey findings

Camden Town, Market, London

The findings from the Legal Services Consumer Panel’s latest tracker survey that people are generally satisfied with their lawyers does not detract from the concerns over their lack of shopping around before choosing one, the panel has said. “Those who access the service are satisfied, but what about those who can’t?” it said.

July 19th, 2017

Land Registry steps up “frictionless” digital conveyancing project as it expands legal team

Land Registry

An expanding team of more than 100 HM Land Registry lawyers dealt with 100,000 legal enquiries last year, although the organisation has stepped up digital reform efforts aimed at automating key parts of the registry’s work. For instance, the piloting of a digital mortgage service, part of a plan to enable paper-free legal deeds, will be widened later this year.

July 19th, 2017

Inventor of parking ticket chatbot sets sights on automating divorce

Josh Browder 2

The student entrepreneur who developed a ground-breaking free chatbot ‘robot lawyer’ to help people challenge parking tickets is working on an ambitious plan to automate the divorce process with the assistance of a team of salaried paralegals, it has emerged. Josh Browder has obtained funding for legal support from a Silicon Valley venture capital fund.

July 18th, 2017

Barrister disbarred for not disclosing previous run-in with SRA when applying to be called

Closed sign

A barrister who made failed to disclose that he had previously run a law firm shut down by the Solicitors Regulation Authority before he applied to be called to the Bar, has been disbarred. Meanwhile, the SDT has struck off a former partner at London firm Hamlins for forging and backdating six letters.

July 18th, 2017

Legal market “at standstill” as clients fail to shop around – but they are happy with lawyers they pick

Jane Martin

The legal services market is “at a standstill”, with consumers still relying “too heavily on reputation” and reluctant to shop around, the Legal Services Consumer Panel has said. At the same time, however, their satisfaction with the advice they received was high.

July 18th, 2017

Vulnerable consumers praise lawyers but ask for more help

Old man

Lawyers acting for mentally ill clients and dementia sufferers have been praised in surveys commissioned by the Legal Services Board on the needs of vulnerable consumers, but some did find it hard to deal with solicitors. The majority of dementia sufferers said their experience of seeing a solicitor had been “extremely positive”.

July 18th, 2017

Boost for legal bloggers after High Court throws out libel claim against barrister

Ben Amunwa

The growing ranks of legal bloggers commenting on often sensitive court rulings have been given comfort after a libel claim brought against a barrister who wrote about one on his personal website was struck out. Ben Amunwa warned that “lawyers on social media are more exposed to claims like this than ever before” but said the decision strengthened their position.

July 17th, 2017

SRA fails in bid to increase disciplinary sanction on solicitor fined for money laundering conviction

Buddika Kaduragamuwa

The High Court has rejected the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s bid to increase the sanction imposed on a solicitor convicted of transferring criminal property after being taken in by a charismatic conman posing as the Pope’s banker. She was fined £2,000 by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.

July 17th, 2017

Law Society backs Ministry of Justice’s “decisive action” in introducing fixed costs for holiday sickness claims

Joe Egan

The Law Society has praised the government’s “decisive action” in introducing fixed costs in holiday sickness claims, and put the blame for fraudulent cases on claims management companies. Meanwhile, ABTA has urged the industry to maintain the momentum on its ‘Stop Sickness Scams’ campaign.

July 17th, 2017

Bar Standards Board “to monitor impact of longer court hours plan on diversity”

BAR Council

The Bar Standards Board is considering the impact of the HM Courts and Tribunal Service’s proposals for longer sitting hours on the diversity of the profession, the only legal regulator so far to take a step, however tentative, into an issue that has generated bitter opposition from the profession.

July 14th, 2017

SRA to remove insurance obstacle to switching regulators

Legal Futures Conference Nov16: Innovation

The Solicitors Regulation Authority is to change its indemnity insurance rules to make it easier for law firms to switch regulator, it announced yesterday. In a bid to encourage competition, the SRA will ditch the requirement that firms switching to another approved regulator have to buy run-off cover.

July 14th, 2017

Harman says government hard on Leigh Day but easy on tax lawyers

Harman

A former Solicitor General has contrasted government pressure on the Solicitors Regulation Authority to prosecute human rights firm Leigh Day with its hands-off approach to solicitors criticised by Parliament for advising companies on tax avoidance.

July 14th, 2017

Gordon Dadds unveils vision to become consolidator of mid-market and small law firms once listed

Adrian Biles

London law firm Gordon Dadds has agreed the reverse takeover that will see it become a listed company and outlined an ambitious acquisition strategy to double its £25m revenue over the next three years by becoming a “major consolidator” of both top 200 law firms and also smaller practices through a back-office platform that it has developed.

July 13th, 2017

Law Commission paves the way for electronic wills

will

The Law Commission has set its sights on England and Wales becoming the first major jurisdiction in the world to allow electronic wills by proposing that the Lord Chancellor is given the power to introduce them by statutory instrument. It has also proposed giving the courts the power to treat a document as a will where the formalities are not followed.

July 13th, 2017

Legal Futures Blog

Woebots and robots

Nadia chatbot

The chances are that you may not be entirely sure what a bot or a chatbot is. So, the news that, “starting today, DoNotPay is opening up so that anyone can create legal bots for free (with no technical knowledge)” may be a bit opaque. But bots have their devotees. The picture is of Nadia, an Australian bot being developed to give information on disability benefits with the voice of Cate Blanchett. The editor of Chatbots Magazine (OK, no neutral source) is pretty clear about their future. He writes articles with titles like ‘How bots will completely kill websites and mobile apps’. Joshua Browder, the creator of the DoNotPay parking ticket challenger, is behind what he hopes will be this major expansion of legal bots.

July 21st, 2017