News

LCJ: Brexit could hurt legal sector as competition from foreign lawyers hots up

Thomas LCJ in Lords

Foreign lawyers are poised to poach international litigants and unseat London as the pre-eminent global centre for dispute resolution under the cover of Brexit, according to the Lord Chief Justice in a wide-ranging and outspoken appearance before the House of Lords constitution committee in which he was critical of the government.

March 23rd, 2017

Law firm secures financial support from Welsh government to launch global anti-piracy business

CJCH Solicitors

A south Wales law firm has secured a £432,000 grant from the Welsh government to establish a global intellectual property anti-piracy business in Cardiff. The business – which will create 71 jobs by 2020 – is being spun off by CJCH Solicitors, which has expanded in recent years to include a standalone anti-piracy and compliance offering within its IP division.

March 23rd, 2017

Supreme Court backs insurer’s bid to cap liability for multiple claims against law firm

Beach at Antalya Turkey

The Supreme Court has sided with a leading professional indemnity insurer in interpreting the rules that govern the way insurers can aggregate multiple claims against solicitors. Overturning the Court of Appeal, it was ruling in claims by investors against a law firm arising from failed property developments in Turkey and Morocco.

March 22nd, 2017

Would-be complaints chief says process needs “root and branch review”

Wanda Goldwag

There needs to be a “root and branch” review of the complaints process run by the Legal Ombudsman, with the speed with which complaints are resolved a particular concern, according to the prospective chair of the organisation’s governing body.

March 22nd, 2017

Consumer panel warns against “information overload” in new transparency regime

Dr Jane Martin

The Legal Services Consumer Panel has warned of “information overload” as legal regulators struggle to come to terms with the demands of the Competition and Markets Authority for transparency on prices and complaints.

March 22nd, 2017

Impact of Brexit on legal services “a cause for concern”, justice committee says

Court of Justice

The justice select committee has described the impact of Brexit on legal services as “a cause for concern, but not hyberbole”, in a report published today. MPs said that maintaining cross-border legal practice rights and access to “valuable regulations” on inter-state commercial law should be two of the four main justice aims for government negotiators.

March 22nd, 2017

“We’ve gone for moderate options to reform PI,” says justice minister

Houses of Parliament

The increase in whiplash claims at a time of falling road traffic accidents and improving car safety means that “cases are obviously exaggerated to some extent, and perhaps fraudulent”, justice minister Sir Oliver Heald said yesterday as he defended the government’s “moderate” personal injury reform proposals during the second reading of the Prisons and Courts Bill.

March 21st, 2017

Public access work grows six-fold in only five years

Gray

The value of public access work carried out by barristers as a proportion of the profession’s income grew six-fold over just five years, according to new figures seen by Legal Futures. They come as a Bar Standards Board review of public access found it was working well, but had areas for improvement.

March 21st, 2017

Profits up but turnover down for NAH as Underdog faces being sent to his kennel

Underdog NAH

NAHL plc – the legal marketing business that owns National Accident Helpline – has reported a 15% increase in profits despite a small fall in turnover in 2016 that would have been significantly larger had the non-personal injury elements of its business not performed well.

March 21st, 2017

SDT rejects plea of solicitor who claimed “perfect storm” of problems made strike-off unjust

SDT

A solicitor with nearly 25 years’ experience has been struck off for dishonestly using client funds to prop up his business and failing to pass on to an RTA client the £73,500 due to her, after a “perfect storm” of circumstances put his firm in difficulties.

March 21st, 2017

Government PI reforms will hand insurers windfall of up to £700m, say economists

car insurance

The government’s personal injury reforms will boost insurers’ profits by up to £700m a year as its estimate of how much of the savings will be passed back to motorists in lower premiums is “implausibly high”, an economics consultancy has predicted ahead of today’s second reading of the Prisons and Courts Bill.

March 20th, 2017

Judge orders SDT to sanction “manifestly incompetent” solicitors who took Axiom money

RCJ portrait

A High Court has referred back to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal the case of two partners he found to have displayed “manifest incompetence” in accepting £573,000 lent to their law firm by the controversial Axiom Legal Financing Fund.

March 20th, 2017

Peers urge government to address impact of Brexit on legal services

Helena Kennedy

Peers have expressed concern about the impact that Brexit is already having on the UK’s legal services market and urged the government to take action. It came in a report that warned that alternatives to the existing framework of civil justice cooperation “must be in place before the UK’s withdrawal is completed”.

March 20th, 2017

MPs launch inquiry into government’s personal injury reforms

Big Ben

MPs on the justice select committee have launched a “short” inquiry into the personal injury reforms contained in the Prisons and Courts Bill. The announcement comes ahead of the bill’s second reading – during which the principles behind it will be debated – on Monday.

March 17th, 2017

Marketer with ABS connections named next chair of Office for Legal Complaints

Wanda Goldwag

Wanda Goldwag – a marketing specialist turned regulator with a connection to two high-profile alternative business structures – has been named as the Legal Services Board’s preferred candidate to chair the Office for Legal Complaints, the body that oversees the Legal Ombudsman.

March 17th, 2017

Legal Futures Blog

The skills shortage in law firms is the biggest threat to handling cybercrime

CLC Roundtable discussion at Malmaison Hotel, Charterhouse Square

The skills shortage in our businesses is the biggest threat to our industry when looking at cybercrime. Cybercriminals are not just after money but are looking for sensitive information too, so the legal services sector is an obvious target. In the last year we have had reports of around £7m of client money being lost to such crime. This is not an IT issue and it should not be left to the IT teams to sort out. It is a high-level responsibility and a board-level issue that must be taken seriously. We suspect that we will look back on 2016 and ask why we didn’t respond quicker.

March 21st, 2017