News

Another large firm to face Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal

Howard Kennedy

Howard Kennedy has become the latest large London practice to face action from the Solicitors Regulation Authority after four solicitors and the firm itself were referred to a disciplinary tribunal over alleged accounts rules breaches.

January 12th, 2018

LawCare urges culture change after case of ‘dishonest’ solicitor showed compassion by SDT

24-7 clock

The charity LawCare has called on the profession to reconsider its culture in the wake of the case this week of a solicitor who avoided being struck-off for dishonesty offences because of the pressure she was put under at work and her mental ill-health. It said the case of Sovani James depicted “a scenario that we are very familiar with”.

January 12th, 2018

Law Society to introduce training quality committee in wake of setbacks

Law Society - Front1

The Law Society is to launch a new ‘quality and standards in education’ committee, after a year in which its training arrangements have come under sustained pressure. It is also investigating whether to reintroduce student membership and has issued guidance on when law firms should tell trainees whether they have a job post admission.

January 12th, 2018

Don’t be fooled by the silence – MoJ “hard at work” to increase PI small claims limit

Bob Neill

The Ministry of Justice yesterday laid out the extensive work being done to prepare for the increase in the personal injury small claims limit, including how it might work with the planned online court. It shows that, despite the continuing silence over when the Civil Liability Bill will be published, considerable work is going on behind the scenes.

January 11th, 2018

Solicitor who deliberately failed to pay thousands in barristers’ fees is struck off

accounts

A solicitor who deliberately kept money from clients for barristers’ fees and told his accounts manager to cover it up – in a bid to prop up his firm – has been struck off by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. The tribunal described as “extraordinary and incredible” evidence given in his defence.

January 11th, 2018

Bar Council lashes BSB over price publication plans

inns of court

The Bar Council has strongly attacked plans by the Bar Standards Board to force barristers to publish prices and internal complaints records. It said a requirement on chambers to publish hourly rates might actually end up decreasing transparency.

January 11th, 2018

“We don’t want to replicate a traditional law firm” – Deloitte announces ABS move

Deloitte

Deloitte is to become the final member of the Big Four accountancy firms to set up an alternative business structure (ABS), it announced today. It has previously said it would not go down this road due to the number of legal clients it has, but a spokeswoman explained that this position had been kept constantly under review.

January 10th, 2018

SDT issues mental health warning to employers in case of solicitor under billing pressure

time is money

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal has decided against striking off a solicitor it found had created and backdated correspondence and lied to both her client and her employer, after finding that a root cause of her misconduct was the firm’s culture and the pressure it exerted on her to meet billing targets. Her mental ill-health was the other factor.

January 10th, 2018

Government applies design to redraft “more accessible” contract for public sector suppliers

contract

The Government Legal Department has embraced design rewritten its public sector contract to make it much slimmer and more accessible to non-lawyers. The new contract was a collaborative effort that involved the Government Digital Service, focusing on user research, content design and interaction design.

January 10th, 2018

Gauke becomes first solicitor Lord Chancellor

RIchard Heaton David Gauke

David Gauke yesterday became the first solicitor to become Lord Chancellor, after he replaced the promoted David Lidington. There have now been six Lord Chancellors since the Conservatives came to power in 2010. Mr Gauke was an assistant at City firm Macfarlanes before his election in 2005.

January 9th, 2018

Consumer panel warns SRA that latest Handbook reforms are recipe for “consumer confusion”

Dr Jane Martin

The Legal Services Consumer Panel has warned that the second phase of reforms to the Solicitors Regulation Authority Handbook would “compound existing complexities” and could further confuse consumers. It said the reforms were “unlikely to assist consumers, especially vulnerable ones, in choosing services in times of distress”.

January 9th, 2018

Law Society embarrassed again after JR threat forces climbdown over training endorsement

Law Society - Front2

The Law Society has been forced to withdraw from an exclusive deal to endorse a training partner for the qualified lawyers transfer scheme (QLTS) after facing a judicial review from another provider, in the latest major stumble by the body that represents solicitors.

January 8th, 2018

Lawyers sanctioned for work done on behalf on unregulated business

Trust deed

A CILEx member and assistant solicitor have been rebuked and fined for not making clear that they were acting for the company that referred its customers to them, rather than the customers themselves. They also admitted not recommending that the customers seek independent legal advice.

January 8th, 2018

Crowdsourcing “can accurately predict court decisions 80% of time” says study

justice scale

Crowdsourcing is an accurate predictor of court judgments, at best proving accurate in over eight out of ten cases, according to a rigorous analysis. A team of academics arrived at the conclusion after assessing the results of a massive competition to predict the outcome of US Supreme Court cases.

January 8th, 2018

SDT strikes off young solicitor who faked documents to cover insurance error

A blank file in a filing cabinet

A three-year qualified solicitor has been struck off for dishonestly fabricating documents to cover up the fact she failed to negotiate an increase to after-the-event insurance cover. This meant her client or firm faced having to pay the other side’s costs.

January 5th, 2018

Legal Futures Blog

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