Looking for new answers in PI

Ken Fowlie

It might be a New Year with a new justice secretary, but there’s work to do if 2018 isn’t going to result in the same old story when it comes to legal reform. In recent times the personal injury sector has been hit by a battery of changes, and all-too often our response has been unclear or even apologetic. Yet the cumulative impact on our firms and especially on those we seek to assist has been obvious. It is time we learned from our experiences and tried a different approach.

January 23rd, 2018

How best to achieve independent regulation under the Legal Services Act?

Craig Wakeford LSB

Independent regulation gives confidence to consumers, providers, investors and society as a whole that legal services work in the public interest and support the rule of law. The Legal Services Act 2007 does not require all approved regulators to be structurally separate from representative bodies. Instead, the Legal Services Board is required by the Act to produce internal governance rules (IGR) which apply the principle of regulatory independence in legal service regulation. We are currently running a consultation on the IGR which continues until 9 February.

January 19th, 2018

Three reasons why you should be more vigilant about the emails you send in 2018

Ben Mitchell DocsCorp

In December 2017, the Information Commissioner’s Office (reported that data security incidents between April and June 2017 had increased by 15% compared to the previous year. This is nothing new – data breaches have been on the rise for years. Yet law firms are often more concerned about protecting sensitive information from external threats than from a far more likely cause: human error. Human error was behind the forwarding of confidential plans from The Bank of England to The Guardian. The sender included the wrong recipient in the email and, ever since, autocomplete has been disabled and staff at the UK’s main financial regulator must now enter every single address manually.

January 17th, 2018

Small claims 2013 v 2018: What has changed?

Brett Dixon APIL

Successive governments have considered increasing the small claims limit for personal injury claims, at the behest of the insurance industry lobby, from £1,000 to £5,000. But the lower limit remains unchanged because, so far, evidence and reasoning have prevailed. The last time the government tried to implement an increase was in 2013 when it concluded that it would keep the issue under consideration for implementation “when appropriate”. Nothing has happened to suppose a small claims limit of £5,000 is any more “appropriate” in 2018 than it was in 2013.

January 15th, 2018

Will conveyancers accept bitcoins as payment?

Gerry McFall

Created in 2009, virtual currency bitcoin has seen a surge over the past year – both in terms of recognition and market value. Whilst the benefits of the prolific cryptocurrency include the option of anonymity and absence of transaction fees, its superficial gloss has been somewhat tarnished by certain factors – all of which could affect its chances of being used in a property transaction. One of the most widely reported drawbacks of Bitcoin is its volatility. So far, the digital currency has seen phenomenal overall growth in the last year but it has also suffered some serious ups and downs on a monthly, weekly, and even daily basis.

January 11th, 2018

2018 and beyond: Our legal futures…

Chris Davidson Moore LT

It’s that time of year again. Thinking about what’s gone before us and planning for the future – looking at what we do, how we do it, and more importantly, who we do it for. The last 10 years or so have seen the legal sector go through a period of unprecedented change, a period of change that shows no sign of abating any time soon. While ‘Tesco Law’ hasn’t brought Armageddon to the high street, (as I was told it would during the very first law firm conference I attended back in 2010), without doubt, for the vast majority of those in practice, the legal sector is a very different place to what it was in 2007, pre-economic downturn.

January 9th, 2018

Suspension: A neutral act?

Alex owen

I suspect that many in the industry were as surprised as I was to read the decision in Agoreyo v London Borough of Lambeth [2017] EWHC 2019 (QB), which determined that suspension was in fact not a ‘neutral act’ and instead can amount to a repudiatory breach of the implied term of trust and confidence. It has made me reconsider what practical advice we must now give to clients considering suspension, to avoid it being considered a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction, and potentially amounting to a fundamental breach of contract.

January 5th, 2018

Portrait of the male barrister as an opponent

Sheryn Omeri 2

I recently came to the end of a multi-day employment law case. My opponent was everything one might have traditionally expected a barrister to be: white, male, apparently public school educated and wearing a pinky ring to assure us he was of the right pedigree. From the moment I introduced myself with a smile on the first morning of the case (as I always do), he immediately assumed an over-familiarity with me, accompanied by a mean-spirited jocularity which I doubted he would have assumed had I been a fellow male barrister. On the second day of the case, after I had finished cross-examining his client, he approached me as the parties were leaving the tribunal room. He began an apparently casual conversation with the innocuous comment “It got awfully warm in there this afternoon”, to which I started to respond with an equally innocuous observation about the air-conditioning being switched off. Before I could finish my sentence, he retorted with “It must have been all your hot air”.

January 2nd, 2018

Santa’s data protection elf-check

Angry Santa

“Just so I’m crystal clear on this,” said Santa, with just a hint of frustration in his voice, “you’re telling me that, from May next year, I can’t use my database of good and naughty boys and girls unless I spend Mrs Claus’s Christmas money on GDPR consultants?” The board meeting of Claus Logistics at the North Pole was not going well and Muggins, the legal & compliance elf, was shifting uneasily in his little pine seat. “With respect, Mr Claus, I’m not sure you’re allowed to refer to them as boys and girls any longer because I heard a bloke on Polar FM and he was saying…” “Enough!” said Santa with a look that could melt the frost on a reindeer’s muzzle. “At the risk of misquoting Monty Python, I don’t care a tinker’s cuss for all this red tape.”

December 21st, 2017

Initial coin offering or initial con offering? A guide for the confused

Catrina Denvir 2

The internet has been awash recently with initial coin offers (ICOs). Although crypto-currency has been around for a few years, only recently have hip-hop stars got in on the action. ICOs are an initial public offering (IPO) of crypto-currency, but to understand that (or even to understand why you should care about ICOs), you have to understand what crypto-currency is, and the blockchain technology on which it relies.

December 18th, 2017