Double ABS boost for Yorkshire

Barry Khan First North Law

North Yorkshire County Council has become the latest local authority to set up an alternative business structure (ABS) with the launch of First North Law. It comes as one of the country’s largest ABSs – Enact Conveyancing – has significantly expanded its presence in Yorkshire, creating 160 new jobs.

March 22nd, 2018

Legal marketing giant to set up “small claims ready” ABS

Russell Atkinson

Legal services marketing giant NAHL is to create a third alternative business structure this year, which will focus on helping injured people navigate small claims if and when the government’s whiplash reforms happen in April 2019. The news comes against the background of its 2017 annual results, which showed revenue up but profit down sharply.

March 21st, 2018

Insurers and claimant lawyers clash over impact of Civil Liability Bill on motor premiums

Law Society

Publication of the Civil Liability Bill yesterday met with a polarised response and a commitment from the chief executives of 26 leading insurance companies to pass on the savings to customers – dismissed as empty promises by claimant solicitors.

March 21st, 2018

Judicial bullying – and how to complain about it – under the microscope again as more barristers speak out

Jo Delahunty QC

The issue of judicial bullying has come up again, with more barristers outlining the behaviour they have faced in court and the Bar Council chairman condemning “bullying or inappropriate treatment” by judges. The leader of the Northern Circuit has advised using informal lines of communication through heads of chambers to handle bullying that is not “egregious”.

March 21st, 2018

The clock starts ticking – Gauke publishes Civil Liability Bill

David Gauke

Justice Secretary David Gauke today finally published the Civil Liability Bill, which the government said “offered hope” of lower insurance premiums to millions of motorists by reducing the “unacceptably high number of whiplash claims”. The bill also contains changes to the way the personal injury discount rate is calculated.

March 20th, 2018

Master of the Rolls: More than four in ten of applications to Court of Appeal come from litigants in person

Sir Terence Etherton

The proportion of applications to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal by litigants in person has gone up by 50% in the last 10 years, the Master of the Rolls has said. He said the judiciary was considering “the facilitation of settlement” of claims in the Online Court.

March 20th, 2018

Pressure mounts on Legal Services Board to delay or reject SQE

law library

The Legal Services Board has come under unprecedented pressure to reject plans by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to introduce a centralised Solicitors Qualifying Examination. City lawyers, law lecturers and Welsh speakers have called on the LSB not to approve the application, while MPs asked for the decision to be postponed for six months.

March 20th, 2018

Law centre solicitor struck off for charging clients

Immigration - passport

A solicitor who “took advantage” of his position at the law centre where he worked by privately charging immigration and asylum clients ineligible for legal aid has been struck off. He charged clients a total of £8,000 on a private paying basis while working at the Gloucester Law Centre.

March 20th, 2018

Solicitor received £1m from bogus legal aid claims and then abandoned practice

Closed sign

A solicitor who took £1m from the legal aid fund by fabricating cases and making hundreds of improper claims, and then abandoned his practice, has been struck off. On the first day of a two-day Legal Aid Agency visit, he said he had a problem with one of his children and had to leave – the investigating officer never saw him again.

March 19th, 2018

SRA warning over sexual misconduct NDAs “put solicitors in difficult position”

Iain Miller

The Solicitors Regulation Authority’s warning about using non-disclosure agreements in cases of sexual harassment puts solicitors in a difficult position and may even discourage reporting, it has been claimed.

March 19th, 2018

Conveyancers “doing a decent job” but leasehold information a concern, says SRA

for sale sign

A fifth of those buying leaseholds do not recall their solicitors giving them key information such as the length of the lease remaining, service charges and ground rent, according to research commissioned by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. But overall, conveyancing clients were generally happy with the service they received.

March 19th, 2018

Solicitor fined for bombarding colleague with offensive messages


A solicitor who bombarded a work colleague with “deeply offensive” and racist messages has been fined £5,000 after a tribunal found that a reduction in the medication he was on led to the misconduct. It did not accept the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s argument that he had a duty to maintain his health and ensure the messages were not sent.

March 16th, 2018

Overt racial discrimination at Bar a ‘common experience’, BSB event told

Leslie Thomas QC

At the present rate, it will be 100 years before the percentage of black and minority ethnic QCs mirrors the general population, an event on improving race equality at the Bar heard last month. One black QC said there were times when he had turned up at court in a suit and was seen as anyone but the lawyer.

March 16th, 2018

Parliament warned of ‘threat to profession’s independence’ over legal aid funding decisions

Houses of Parliament

There is a “worrying trend” towards potential government interference in decisions over the grant of legal aid that threaten the independence of the profession, a leading solicitor warned parliamentarians this week. She also highlighted the so-called ‘embarrassment clause’ put into criminal contracts by the Legal Aid Agency.

March 16th, 2018

Six Cobbetts partners fined over firm’s collapse but “manifest incompetence” allegation is dropped

SRA logo on brick wall

Six former leaders of defunct firm Cobbetts have been fined by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal for their actions as the firm was going under. However, the Solicitors Regulation Authority withdrew an allegation that they exhibited “manifest incompetence” in the way they ran the firm.

March 15th, 2018

Legal Futures Blog

Don’t get caught out by the traditional equity partnership model

David Beech 2

It’s no secret that these are challenging times for some of the UK law sector as it tries to keep up with emerging digital trends and increasing demand from clients. But there is buoyancy in the market and opportunities for those businesses that are agile and brave enough to challenge the status quo – the traditional equity partnership model. We’ve seen it all too often where partners have been duped into putting their assets against a failing business that is riddled with debt. We’ve even received calls from partners to discuss bankruptcy and that the possibility of moving house is no longer possible, due to the LLP they joined going into liquidation.

March 22nd, 2018