Edward Fennell’s LEGAL DIARY

The Legal Diary has moved to https://www.thelegaldiary.co.uk/

Friday 6 May 2022

Diary news, commentary, insights, appointments and arts from the legal world

SHORT THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

Enablers’ – The New Dirty Word

Veteran Putin critic Bill Browder – Image courtesy of Moscow News

An article by  Christian Larson, a White Collar Defense and Investigations lawyer at Cadwalader, published last night in the firm’s ‘Cabinet News and Views’ brought home how much the weight of the US law is now being brought to bear on the Russian kleptocrats. Amongst other things Larson highlighted that “President Biden’s proposal[s] would create a new criminal offense, prohibiting the knowing or intentional possession of ‘proceeds directly obtained from corrupt dealings with the Russian government’ and that ‘the DOJ [would be afforded] additional time to work with international partners to build complex cases and “identify assets for seizure and forfeitures.”’

The sting in the tail is the forfeitures. They are expected to be massive. “The legislative proposals signal that the administration is preparing for a potentially high volume of administrative, civil, and criminal action against Russian elites who violate the U.S. law, and those who enable them. Regardless of the course of the conflict in Ukraine, the legal fallout is sure to extend for years to come.

It is significant then that anti-Putin campaigner Bill Browder, author of Freezing Order and Red Notice, complained bitterly on the BBC’s Newsnight this week, that the biggest ‘enablers’ for the Russian oligarchs were London lawyers – and that, unlike accountants, they are being allowed to continue to act for their Russian clients. Looks like they will have no shortage of work.

The LegalDiarist

NOTE: We will NOT be publishing next Friday. We are switching our format to a website and will re-appear in a fortnight’s time. The usual alerts will be despatched.

In this week’s edition

+ LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

– It’s All in the Mind (We think)…at Farrer & Co

– O No, Not Another Bright Idea…….at Browne Jacobson

– Untying the Knots…..at Boodle Hatfield

– Go West to Wilshire…….at Clarke Willmot

+ LEGAL COMMENT OF THE WEEK on Long Covid and Industrial Injury

+ THE SPLIT: FURTHER LEGAL ANALYSIS

+LEGAL APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK at Clifford Chance, Volterra Fietta, McCarthy Denning and Thomson Snell & Passmore

LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

It’s All in the Mind (We think)

Loneliness – This year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Week

Unless you are too stressed to notice you’ll know that next week is Mental Health Awareness Week. One firm marking the event is Farrer & Co. which will be ‘unveiling’ (so to speak) its team of Mental Health First Aiders – all thirty six of them – who are ‘ready and able’ to offer a first line of support to colleagues with mental health concerns ranging from impostor syndrome to post-natal depression. Guest speaker at the event will be mental health expert Josh Connelly, reflecting on Loneliness,

As Rachel Lewis, partner and Board Member at Farrer & Co, said, “Our agile working framework, which gives employees more choice about working from home or the office to better suit their needs and those of our clients, has provided a useful platform for a more mindful approach. We want everyone to bring their whole selves to work, and being able to talk openly about mental health is a big part of that. Thanks to our Mental Health First Aiders, we are now even better placed to start up these important conversations.”

Bringing one’s ‘whole self’ to work is a popular mantra. However WFH means that you cannot escape your ‘home worries’ nor, indeed, your loneliness – so even more reason to have access to counselling. As Sarah Green, one of the firm’s newly trained Mental Health First Aiders, commented,“I know how easily worrying or anxious thoughts can escalate if not aired. I also know the incredible relief and peace of mind that talking through these problems can bring.”

O No, Not Another Bright Idea

Browne Jacobson seems to be setting the pace when it comes to right-on progressive initiatives. Not a week passes, it seems, without another one being announced. This time round they are the first law firm to link up with something called ‘O Shaped’.

Now, without being too cynical, O Shaped comes across as a bit New Agey with its ‘Five Os Mindset’ and ‘12 O Shaped Attributes’. Firms go, apparently, on an O Shaped journey (coming back to where they started from?) and become part of the O Shaped network. The whole thing is the brainchild of Dan Kayne, a former Network Rail General Counsel, who set up the organisation in 2019 after delivering a ‘thought provoking and engaging speech at a GC conference on how private practice and in-house teams could work more collaboratively as one team when advising their business clients’.

According to Browne Jacobson Managing Partner, Richard Medd,“It made sense that we … join O Shaped’s campaign to make the legal profession a more connected, engaged and inclusive environment.” Medd added that, “This relationship will have a positive impact on the way we work together, the way we work with our clients and the way we work with the wider legal community in the future.”

O Shaped is, already partnering with three ‘leading law schools’ so be prepared to hear a lot more about it. There’s no such thing as soft skills, just hard skills and human skills,” announces SImon Sinek, the author and TED talker, on its website https://www.oshapedlawyer.com/ So you know what you are in for.

Untying the Knots

Anna Richardson Adds Her Insights on Family Life

Boodle Hatfield is one of a very small group of law firms with 300 years of history behind it. To mark the anniversary it will be convening next week a panel discussion on ‘300 years of Family Life – Past Present & Future’ which brings a clutch of celebrities including TV presenter Anna Richardson, musician and writer Tom Rasmussen, evolutionary anthropologist Dr Anna Machin and relationship psychotherapist Silva Neves. Collectively they will to mull over how attitudes and expectations of ‘marriage, relationships and love’ have changed since the early eighteenth century. Now it could be said that change was slow on the marriage front over the centuries but that some of the most significant changes have happened in just the past three decades. ‘Are we finally approaching the end of the reign of the nuclear family and entering a new era of polyamory, platonic parenting and communal living?” asks partner Emily Brand. “Now that we can scientifically prove who our biological fathers are and women can financially support themselves, why do people marry, particularly when the solemn ties of marriage can be dissolved simply by ticking a box in an online applications form?” Good question – although there are also plenty of good answers. As, no doubt, the audience will hear.


Go West to Wiltshire (er, no – Wilshire)

Is this the road to Swindon?

It is a long way from Somerset to Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles but to their great credit lawyers at Clarke Willmott seem to have taken it in their stride while acting for super cool Wasserman Music (office address 10900 Wilshire) on its acquisition of a controlling stake in Paradigm UK’s live music business.

What’s more the South West’s finest (that’s Bristol not South by Southwest) does not even claim on its website to have a media or entertainment offer to its clients.  Top of the list of its specialisms is, not surprisingly, Agriculture. So this whole story has a kind of Local Hero feel to it.

Just as a reminder, Wasserman represents some of the world’s leading pop, rock, electronic and hip hop artists and runs from Baby Keem, Bastille, Billie Eilish, through to Sturgill Simpson, SZA, Turnstile, Wet Leg and Zedd (among many others,as the publicity points out). Meanwhile Paradigm’s list includes FKA twigs, Lewis Capaldi, Liam Payne, Mark Ronson, My Chemical Romance, PinkPantheress, Rag’n’Bone Man, Rita Ora. 

“Bristol-based corporate partner Rob Ridd led on the deal for Clarke Willmott alongside Tim Copplestone, an employment lawyer in the firm, supported by Cormac Hayes and a full team of other specialist lawyers,” ran the announcement. Meanwhile another West Country-based firm – Osborne Clarke – was also involved. London look out.

LEGAL COMMENT OF THE WEEK

TOPIC: Long COVID: Could it amount to a disability?

COMMENT BY: Aleksandra Traczyk, Winckworth Sherwood

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has suggested that organisations should treat their employees who have long COVID symptoms as if they have a disability for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010. So can Long COVID amount to a disability?

“Under the Equality Act 2010, a disability is a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. ‘Long-term’ means that the impairment has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months or more, at the time of the alleged acts of discrimination committed. ‘Substantial’ means more than minor or trivial.

“The ONS has defined “long COVID”, as symptoms persisting for “more than four weeks” after COVID-19 is first suspected. This would not be long enough for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010, unless the symptoms were expected to last for at least 12 months or more.

“In cases where long COVID has lasted for at least a year, as it has in a large number of self-reported cases, the long-term test of the Equality Act 2010 would be met and in cases where the symptoms have continued for a few months and look likely to continue, this equally would appear to be met.

“Although some campaign groups and bodies
including the Trade Union Congress have called for long COVID to be recognised as a disability under the Equality Act 2010, this has not yet happened. ECHR has acknowledged that the short amount of time that long COVID has been in existence as a condition, and the fluctuating nature of symptoms, may be a barrier to the government doing so.

“For now, ACAS has stated that rather than trying to work out if an employee’s condition is a disability, the employer should focus instead on what reasonable adjustments they can make. Long COVID has been found to affect older people, ethnic minorities and women more severely. Employers therefore should be aware that those groups could bring an indirect discrimination claim based on age, race or sex, where they have been subjected to a detriment because of their long COVID, even when their long COVID does not amount to a disability. It is therefore vital that employers approach any long COVID cases amongst their workforce with caution in order to try to avoid the risk of any allegations of possible discrimination being raised.”

TOPIC: The serious industrial injury to the arm of Keith Matheson, a contractor’, when a circular saw caught his fleece and pulled his arm into the machine.

COMMENT BY: Susanne McGraw, Head of Personal Injury at Watermans,the Scottish PI firm

Whether you work in an office, a restaurant, a factory, a sports centre, or on the road, undesired accidents can take place when you least expect them. In Scotland alone, workers suffer 41,000 non-fatal injuries every year.

Unfortunately, this suggests that accidents in the workplace are frequent, and in most situations, they happen through no fault of your own. Sometimes, work-related injuries can be very serious and life-changing, and the upsetting and traumatic experience can leave you scarred for quite some time. This is why it is always important to have somebody on your side to support you while you focus on regaining your physical and mental well-being.”

In other words, make sure that you get a lawyer fast.

+ THE SPLIT: FURTHER LEGAL ANALYSIS

In her second article on the legal questions prompted by the recent TV series THE SPLIT Jayne Martins, a Partner in the family team at RWK Goodman, examines the obligations on a lawyer when she knows more about the facts of the matter than her client.

Spill the beans or keep her counsel?

In this second instalment on my observations of Series 3 of The Split, I take a look at the plausibility of one of the key subplots which involved a single-sex married couple, Bella and Sian, and their friend Gus. The three of them meet with the show’s protagonist Hannah Stern, a partner at the fictional firm Noble Hale Defoe, to arrange a parental agreement as Bella and Sian are having a baby with the assistance of Gus’s sperm donation. The law in England and Wales says that where a couple are married and conception occurs via artificial insemination (as was understood to be the case), the donor (ie Gus) would have no legal rights at all as a parent. So in real life the meeting was superfluous as the agreement was unnecessary.

Without the meeting, intuitive Hannah (and viewers) would never have spotted the nervous smiles between Bella and Gus which soon gave the game away that the insemination had been less artificial and more of the natural kind. Hannah then faced a dilemma; she could not advise Bella and Sian to sign the document as she knew the information to be false but she also knew that if the truth was revealed, it might end her clients’ marriage. In reality, Hannah would have had to advise her clients that she could not assist them any further as Hannah has a duty not to mislead the court so she cannot have any involvement in finalising a document she knows to contain false information. A reputable family lawyer would have recommended that Gus get his own legal advice as he would be considered the legal parent of the child and have various responsibilities towards the child that he may not have anticipated (including paying child maintenance). Instead, Hannah advised Gus and Bella to come clean and disastrous consequences inevitably ensued.

While Series 3 of The Split did contain some other far-fetched legal scenarios, it was somewhat of a relief that the final season focused much more heavily on the personal lives of the main characters (mostly the separation and divorce of Hannah Stern and her husband which was covered in my first instalment) and much less on the work of the family lawyers at Noble Hale Defoe. As a family lawyer myself this allowed me to enjoy the show as opposed to wanting to throw certain objects at my TV as was the case in the previous two seasons where glaring legal discrepancies occurred in almost every episode!

APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK

(As we are not publishing next week there is a double dose!!)

Marc Besen has been appointed as Global Co-Chair of Clifford Chance‘s Antitrust practice. He assumes the position from Brussels-based partner Thomas Vinje and will join Washington, DC-based partner Sharis Pozen in leading more than 170 attorneys practicing antitrust law in 18 locations globally.

Besen currently leads the firm’s German Antitrust practice. “Competition law considerations continue to impact the way our clients approach risk and growth opportunities,” he says. “This is as true locally as it is across jurisdictions. I am excited to [take on] this role as we connect our global network to navigate clients through their challenges.”

Sharis Pozen commented,”Marc has an extraordinary reputation handling numerous high profile global merger reviews and investigations before the European Commission and national antitrust authorities,” said “In a market facing ever-increasing regulation and scrutiny, he brings significant experience in supporting international clients on antitrust compliance.”

Tina Williams has joined City law firm McCarthy Denning as a Partner in the firm’s corporate group. She was previously at Fox Williams, where she was a founding partner and built the firm into one of the UK’s leading partnership law practices. She is widely recognised as one of the UK’s leading lights on partnership law and has advised on some of the most significant domestic and international law firm and other partnership mergers.

McCarthy Denning is reckoned to be one of the first ‘Next Generation’ City law firms operating on the basis of a flat structure (in contrast to the pyramid model adopted by almost all large corporate firms).The firm has a high-tech approach at its core to provide greater efficiency through flexible working and itrecruits exclusively highly experienced lawyers such as Williams (both partners and associates) selecting only those with the appropriate pedigree and credentials. .

“Tina is without doubt one of the UK’s leading partnership law practitioners,” said Warren Wooldridge, CEO of McCarthy Denning, “This is a highly significant addition for McCarthy Denning as we build our profile and client base across professional and financial services partnerships. She also brings vast experience as a law firm leader and will contribute much to further development of our firm.”

Gunjan Sharma has been appointed as Partner by Volterra Fietta, the public international law firm. He joined the firm as an associate in 2018 and was promoted to Counsel in 2021. Previously he had worked for eight years in the international arbitration and litigation group of a major global law firm in New York.

Volterra Fietta was founded just over a decade ago and is regarded as the world’s first dedicated public international law firm. It is now ranked in the top tier in the legal directories.Whilst at Volterra Fietta, Sharma has led teams representing governments and global businesses in a number of high profile disputes including the first investor-State arbitration against the French Republic (featuring a gold mine expropriation claim in KN Holding LLC & Severgroup LLC v the French Republic); and representing Egypt in a case related to Al Jazeera (Al Jazeera Media Network v Arab Republic of Egypt).

“Our decision to invite Gunjan to join us was easy,” said Robert Volterra. “ Gunjan’s talent, drive, initiative, intelligence and the respect he enjoys from his colleagues all made the case for him. Gunjan relentlessly pursues our clients’ interests and guides them to optimal outcomes, as their trusted adviser.”

Jonathan Askin has joined Kent-based firm Thomson Snell & Passmore as a Partner to head up its commercial law activities. Askin was previously at Knights plc, where he led the commercial team.

In the run-up to Brexit, Askin’s work in relation to cross-border outsourcing and trade of goods whilst holding the position of National Head of Commercial Law for international insurance law firm BLM led to him him being named Lawyer Monthly’s ‘Commercial Lawyer of the Year 2019’ Among a variety of recent mandates he advised a US Fortune 500 company on its multi-million agreement with the Department of Health during lockdown to ensure PPE was available to the NHS.

 “Jonathan’s wealth of experience and genuine understanding of the wider business and commercial needs of our clients will further strengthen our offering,“ said Joanne Gallagher, Partner and Head of Corporate & Commercial at Thomson Snell & Passmore. “We have ambitious growth plans for the department and Jonathan’s appointment is a key step [towards] deepening and expanding the range of specialist services we deliver for clients.”

E-VENTS

PINSENT MASONS

Developing green AI – Who owns the IP and how do I keep control of my data?

MAY 19


 Email banner image
We would like to invite you to our next webinar on Developing green AI – Who owns the IP and how do I keep control of my data?
 AI can enable and accelerate a business’s climate change and sustainability goals. It is key to understand the intellectual property rights that will arise in the AI tool and its outputs and who will own these rights to ensure return on investment and freedom to use and commercialise. AI development will also require a business to disclose datasets to the developer, which must be carefully managed throughout the development project to avoid lasting damage to the business’s IP and data assets.  In this webinar we will highlight the IP and data issues that commonly arise in AI development and deployment and explain the legal, practical and technical solutions available.
 Please note that this invitation is unique to Edward Fennell. If you know someone else who would like to attend, please forward this invite and ask them to register here.
 
Developing green AI – Who owns the IP and how do I keep control of my data?
19 May 2022 13:00 – 14:00 BST
Webinar
 
 
Speakers Cerys Wyn Davies, Partner Mark Marfé, Legal Director Bella Phillips, Solicitor
 
For further information please contact:#
Lesley White
Event Executive+44 141 567 8659
lesley.white@pinsentmasons.com

We hope that you have enjoyed this edition of the Legal Diary. If so, please circulate to colleagues and friends.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE LEGAL DIARY WILL NOT APPEAR NEXT WEEK.

We shall be returning in a new website format in a fortnight’s time.

But please continue to send your Diary stories, insights and comment to:

fennell.edward@yahoo.com

Edward Fennell’s LEGAL DIARY

Friday 29 April 2022 Edition 104

Diary news, commentary, insights, appointments and arts from the legal world

SHORT THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: Justice – Still held up in the Post

She may have been a Cof E priest and have a CBE but Paula Vennells, as featured on TV in this week’s Panorama, broke the Eleventh Commandment

This week’s Panorama on BBC1 (Monday 8.00pm) was a timely reminder that you do not have to be one of Putin’s thugs to exercise arbitrary power, lie, deceive and undertake actions to imprison the innocent and drive them to despair and even suicide. You can also be a member of the Church of England, a senior IT executive or a lawyer with prosecutorial powers in Her Majesty’s Post Office. In mitigation, the one consolation is that in this country the truth does comes out, sometimes, in the long run.

But that does not necessarily render justice. A statutory inquiry into the Post Office scandal led by former High Court judge Wyn Williams is now under way. But as journalist Javad Iqbal commented in The Times this week, “Is it really too much to hope that someone senior in the Post Office is held to account for this scandal AND SOON?”

The LegalDiarist

In this week’s edition

+ LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

No Disputing Togetherness at Travers Smith

Our Man in Moscow (Not)

Book Now at the Inner Temple

What happened to the innocence of the Virgin islanders?

+ CONTRIBUTED ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

A DIM FUTURE FOR THE SERIOUS FRAUD OFFICE? ponder Richard Sallybanks and Anoushka Warlow, Associate of BCL

+ SPECIAL REPORT ON LAW IN THE BOX-SET

THE SPLIT: DID IT RING TRUE? by Jayne Martins of Royd Withy King

+ LEGAL COMMENT OF THE WEEK on watching porn at work, NHS Litigation Reform, and the Justice Committee’s report on ‘Court Capacity’

APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK at Hogan Lovells and Davitt Jones Bould

LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

What happened to the innocence of the Virgin islanders?

Is that Sir Geoffrey Cox speeding to the rescue in the motor boat?

Those of a cynical disposition would have not been greatly surprised that British Virgin Islands premier Andrew Fahie has been arrested yesterday in the United States on charges related to drugs trafficking and money laundering. After all there are plenty of deeply honest and law abiding law firms based on the island who have expertise in highly complex cross-border deals. That’s the kind of thing they do down there.

As one of the last vestiges of empire Whitehall has, over the past year or so, been investigating misgovernance on the island – much to the displeasure of the local political establishment. But they have been in the safe hands of the good old former British attorney general, Sir Geoffrey Cox QC (remember him) who has been representing Andrew Fahie and other government ministers. This latest development should keep them busy for some time to come.

No Disputing Togetherness at Travers Smith

No arguments – Rob Fell likes a laugh

It would have required a heart of stone not to be moved just a little by the Introduction written by Rob Fell , the Head of Dispute Resolution at Travers Smith, to his Department’s very glossy, photograph-heavy annual report. There was, not surprisingly, a massive amount of trumpet-blowing taking place. And why not? you might say. After all they had enjoyed a very good year across a wide spectrum of cases. But the heart-string moment was the celebration of coming back together again as a team.

“The uncertainty on the world stage makes us all the more cognisant of the benefits we as a team enjoy,” declared Fell, “including being in each other’s company again – at our desks, socialising together, dashing between meetings and in Court. The texture of our lives is enriched by all those day-to-day interactions, and by the friendships that are forged on them; this is what makes working at Travers Smith and in our disputes practice so special, and why we are all proud to be part of it. I hope that the photographs in these pages capture some of camaraderie, trust, laughter and fun that we are lucky enough to share here, and which we do not take for granted.”

If it was an argument to get back to the office (even if only occasionally) it seemed to work.

Our Man in Moscow (Not)

Not a British law firm in sight – Image courtesy of A Stamp a Day


Against the horrors taking place daily in Ukraine the vicissitudes of law firms previously active in Russia are of marginal significance. Nonetheless the optics of any contact with Russia have become deeply significant in terms of reputation as the recent experience of Eversheds Sutherland has revealed. Already some in the legal press are suggesting that the closure of western law firms in Moscow is no more than a charade so it was with some urgency that Eversheds this week was forced to rush out a clarification of ‘an apparent misunderstanding around the firm’s previous statement of 25 April 2022’. “Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP,” the latest release says, “confirms that it has ceased operating in Russia.”

What’s happened, they went on to say, is that its former Russian partners had set up a new outfit called Birch Legal, which had joined Eversheds’ group of 200+ relationship firms around the world ‘which provide support to our clients which have legal needs in jurisdictions where we do not have offices’. Should clients choose to instruct any of our relationship firms, it added, including Birch Legal, “We do not benefit financially”.

In the present circumstances it feels more comfortable to pull the shutters down entirely on all things Russian. But, in brutal reality, the messiness of commercial life makes that impossible. Birch Legal is probably the least worst way forward.  

Book Now at the Inner Temple

Eager readers come flooding back

Like so many of the LegalDiarist’s library books this story is a bit overdue – but better late than never (and we’re happy to pay the fine). To the delight of many legal researchers the Inner Temple Library re-opened last month in its refurbished historic home in Crown Office Row. Like all such refurbishments it has been a long process, having closed in May 2019 and moving to Fetter Lane for the duration so as to allow for the re-development of the whole Treasury Building. “Staff [were] looking forward to being back in the Library’s real home and to welcoming back Library users,” commented the magazine Information Professional.

Mind you it could be argued that the timing of the refurbishment was perfect. As was pointed out, many of the Library’s users would have been unable to visit in any case over the past two years because of Covid. There has to be a silver book-lining somewhere.

CONTRIBUTED ARTICLES OF THE WEEK

A DIM FUTURE FOR THE SERIOUS FRAUD OFFICE?

The Serious Fraud Office has come under tight scrutiny of late. So what is likely to happen next? ask Richard Sallybanks, a Financial Crime partner, and Anoushka Warlow, Associate, at BCL

Still the Seriously Flawed Office? Seems so. Image courtesy of SFO

Last year saw the Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”) suffer the disclosure failures which led to the high-profile collapse of its prosecution of executives in the Serco trial, and to the Court of Appeal quashing Ziad Akle’s conviction following the Unaoil trial.This year did not get off to a much better start. In March, the Court of Appeal quashed the conviction of Paul Bond, one of Akle’s co-defendants, on the basis of the same disclosure issues. Those failings are already the subject of an independent review being carried out by Sir David Calvert-Smith. The report is expected in May and is likely to comment not only on the SFO’s conduct in the Unaoil case, but also on wider issues relating to its policies, procedures and culture. With a separate report (by Brian Altman QC) into the Serco disclosure failures also due in May, the two reports may make for painful reading.

Lisa Osofsky (Director of the SFO for the past four years) has, perhaps unfairly, tried to pin some of the blame for the SFO’s recent failures on the statutory disclosure regime. In evidence to the Parliamentary Justice Select Committee last month she criticised the current disclosure framework for failing to reflect the reality of investigating offences in a ‘data first’ world. Ms Osofsky confirmed that the SFO had written to the Attorney General seeking reforms to the disclosure regime and she has confirmed that a report will be prepared on the current position, but it is reported to be the Attorney General’s view that if any issue exists, it is with the “application of the law, rather than the law itself”.

As for the rest of this year, there are eight SFO trials due to commence in 2022 and if the SFO can successfully navigate those trials, and especially if it can secure convictions, that will go some way to re-establishing some of its lost credibility as an effective prosecutor. That said, for as long as the SFO is operating under the shadow cast by the Calvert-Smith and Altman reviews, success in the current trials may only provide short-term relief.

SPECIAL REPORT ON LAW IN THE BOX-SET

THE SPLIT: DID IT RING TRUE?

Spot the non-lawyer Image courtesy of the BBC

In the first of a new series Jayne Martins, a family  partner  at Royds Withy King examines the legal plausibility of the successful BBC 1 TV Series THE SPLIT (and if you have not seen it. but plan to do so. then we suggest that you look away now!).

The Quest for a Good Divorce

Like many family lawyers, and the general public, I have been glued to series 3 of The Split, the hit legal drama which is currently airing on BBC.

The final season has proved to be highly addictive, entertaining viewing and while many of the plots were somewhat ridiculous, I was impressed with how realistic some aspects of the main storyline, the breakdown of the marriage of the protagonist Hannah Stern, a family lawyer, were portrayed.

At the start of the series, Hannah who is having doubts about the separation, is shocked when her husband Nathan brings his new girlfriend to a dinner they are both attending with friends. Quite how Nathan had managed to keep this relationship a secret from Hannah is beyond me as in my experience the mere whisper of a new love interest sends the jungle drums beating and the news is shared almost immediately with the other spouse. Unsurprisingly, the new partner spells the death knell for the Stern’s marriage, especially when it is revealed that she is pregnant.

I thought the show dealt with this aspect of a relationship breakdown incredibly well. It is very common for new partners to be quickly introduced after a separation and while not a legal issue, I regularly advise clients on how best to deal with this sensitive situation. The emotions are usually raw, painful and uncomfortable for all involved and this was true forHannah, Nathan, their teenage children and the new partner. The key is to understand that there is pain on all sides and to understand that conflict is going to be the only thing that damages children when a relationship breaks down and to respect each other as parents and individuals.

Always a proponent for the ‘good divorce’, I was interested to see whether Hannah would be able to achieve this for her own marriage and not just for her clients. It started well, with the agreement drawn up, but quickly fell apart partly because of Nathan’s highly implausible (but entertaining) choice of lawyer, the formidable, highly litigious Melanie Aickman. The show demonstrated how important it is to get good advice and avoid the ‘Melanie’s’ of this world. A good divorce is not getting every penny from the other side, but allowing both to live independently from each other in a way that is fair and protective of children. In the end, Hannah and Nathan were able to work together as a separated family unit for the children. While far from a fairy tale ending, it was a happy ending of sorts and the show did well to ensure that Sterns put their children first. This was good advice.

LEGAL COMMENT OF THE WEEK

TOPIC: Watching porn whilst at work

Screens are being switched off all over Westminster

COMMENT BY:  Daniel Zona, Employment lawyer at Collyer Bristow

“Most employers will have workplace policies that explain how IT and communications equipment provided by a company can be used. They will often explicitly state that the watching or downloading of pornographic material will be considered an act of gross misconduct. Watching pornographic material on a personal device will be no defence, particularly if in an open environment or seen by colleagues.

Employers will in most instances see this as gross misconduct with the employee dismissed without notice.

“Female colleagues will understandably feel deeply uncomfortable if they see a male colleague opening watching pornography. Employers who do not act could find themselves facing harassment claims.”

TOPIC: The Health and Social Care Committee report: NHS Litigation Reform

COMMENT BY: Qamar Anwar, managing director of First4Lawyers

“It probably isn’t coincidence that this report is published in the same week that the fixed recoverable costs consultation closed; the government is clearly intent on reforming medical negligence.

“As most claimant lawyers in the sector will testify, however, NHS Resolution’s inability to accept liability even in the face of overwhelming evidence is a key reason why so many cases drag on longer than they need to. Its own report last year confirmed that NHS legal costs were rising while claimant costs were on the decline. 

The report says the new system would prioritise learning from mistakes, which should surely be the case already. It references birth injury cases which unsurprisingly cost the NHS the most to resolve and can take a long time to reach settlement, largely because it can take years to fully assess the extent of the damage done. Furthermore, it says compensation for ongoing care needs should be based not on private providers but on the top-up care available through the NHS and social care – two systems which have already been pushed to the brink of collapse.

“MPs should understand that victims invariably don’t want to go to court, they just want answers. In many cases, they have to fight to get them, which we agree is wrong.

“Lawyers fight for their client’s needs, helping them to uncover the truth, highlight injustices and drive learnings so mistakes are not repeated. They also do an enormous amount of due diligence to filter out spurious cases at the outset. To replace them with an administrative body which is part of the NHS is akin to letting the fox guard the chickens.

“The current system may not be perfect, but MPs should instead consider why so many people feel litigation is their only option rather than taking that option away.”

COMMENT BY: Kris Kilsby, Council Member, Association of Costs Lawyers

“Though we recognise that the government wants to reduce what the NHS spends on clinical negligence claims, this debate boils down to what is right for the injured person. These claims may be relatively low value, but they are not low impact and negligence victims need to be able to seek justice.

“Fixed recoverable costs are a very blunt instrument that may work in areas where the course of claims is relatively predictable – such as road traffic accidents – but not in a much more complex area like clinical negligence.

“Our members are experienced and knowledgeable about costs and are able to greatly assist the court to ensure that costs in such cases are kept to reasonable and proportionate amounts. Introducing FRC will remove this level of check and balance and could lead to unjust results in respect of costs recovery which could ultimately lead to an impact on access to justice.”

COMMENT BY: Stephanie Prior, head of clinical negligence at Osbornes Law

“If MPs really want to ensure ‘the prevention of future harm’ then the first thing they need to do is tackle the chronic underfunding of the NHS and the shortage of staff that leads to errors that cause so many thousands of patients pain and  suffering.

Reducing the compensation bill for the NHS will not solve the fundamental issue of a service buckling under the strain of the untold pressure of staff shortages, resulting in unnecessary and avoidable deaths and life changing injuries for those affected by negligent medical care. These suggestions are tantamount to putting a plaster on a gaping wound and will not ensure less mistakes happen.

“While it is true that legal costs are high, this is often down to NHS lawyers dragging out cases for an inordinate amount of time, so anything that shortens the process has to be welcomed. However, reducing the amount of compensation patients receive is rubbing salt in the wounds of people who have already suffered enough. The idea that an independent administrative body should be set up is utterly ridiculous and will be a waste of money. The fact is lessons could and should be learnt from Serious Untoward Incident (SUI) reports and internal investigations and a new body isn’t going to make the situation any better.”

COMMENT BY: Nick Grant, Managing Director at clinical negligence firm, Devonshires Claims

“These ‘let’s save the NHS money’ headlines always sound great on the surface, but the real risk is that the patients, who have had their lives irreparably damaged, are overlooked. Until such time as Government and highly paid NHS managers get to grips with the reasons behind these claims, such as a chronic shortage of staff, outdated policies and a lack of training, then a superficial overhaul of the compensation process is just going to leave seriously injured patients with no real access to justice. Is handing this role to an ‘independent’ body, funded by Government with the express aim of reducing costs, really what these patients, their lives ruined through no fault of their own, deserve?  I don’t think so. We are dealing with human beings here, not just statistics.”

TOPIC:   The Justice Committee’s report ‘Court Capacity: Sixth Report of Session 2021-22’

No spare capacity here then – Image courtesy of Nottingham Law School

COMMENT BY: Dr Natalie Bryom, Director of Research and Learning, The Legal Education Foundation

 “The Legal Education Foundation welcomes this important report from the select committee. It rightly exposes how poor data collection from across the justice system continues to undermine the ability of the MoJ and HMCTS to predict and respond to problems relating to court capacity.

“As I said in my evidence to the committee, the absence of data and robust governance for managing data has a direct cost in human terms on victims, witnesses, defendants and all those who use the court system – and weakens our ability to shape a more effective and accessible justice system for the future.

“The committee reflects the findings of the Foundation’s report for HMCTS in 2019 to improve data collection and governance and I fully agree with the committee’s view that addressing this problem requires ‘a sustained focus and significant investment’. I hope that the MoJ and HMCTS will now take forward the report’s recommendation to ring-fence funding ‘to expedite work to deliver on its commitment to improve data’ and publish a detailed timetable to ‘ensure it is accountable for progress’.

No other public service would be permitted to operate with the dearth of essential data and information that exists across our courts. Addressing this is essential if we want a justice system that delivers for users and wider society alike.”

COMMENT BY: Professor Chris Bones, Chair of CILEX (the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives)

“This report once again highlights the huge challenges facing our courts system and the desperate need for a sustainable long-term approach to growing the capacity of the courts.

“One immediate action that could be taken is widening the pool of available prosecuting lawyers by creating a fresh pipeline of recruits. At present, there are far too many capable and qualified lawyers, many acting as Associate Prosecutors, who can’t progress their careers to become Crown Prosecutors. If the legislative barrier on CILEX members’ eligibility to become Crown Prosecutors was removed, a new supply line of lawyers to meet the justice crisis would be enabled, with the public purse actually saving money by removing the needless present route of retraining them to become solicitors in order to do so.”

LEGAL APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK

Paul Akehurst has been appointed by Hogan Lovells as the firm’s new Head of Sustainability. He will be based in the firm’s London office and will work closely with other members of the firm’s D&I and Responsible Business team.

Akehurst joins the firm from JLL, where he was regional operations lead for energy and sustainability services, supporting a range of corporate clients in all aspects of sustainability ranging from Net Zero Carbon strategies to enhancing social value. He has a strong technical background in building design, energy and carbon management, and environmental assessment and is able to draw on more than 35 years of experience developing sustainability strategies and implementing engineering solutions to improve the operational performance of the built environment.

“At Hogan Lovells we are committed to operating our business sustainably,” said  Susan Bright, Global Managing Partner for Diversity & Inclusion and Responsible Business. “Delivering on our commitments to D&I and Responsible business is one of the firm’s five strategic priorities.  We are delighted to welcome Paul to help us on our journey to support the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and to help both people and planet prosper.”


Rima Gasperas has been appointed as a Partner by Davitt Jones Bould (DJB), the UK’s largest firm specialising entirely in real estate law. Gasperas has over 20 years’ experience in commercial property law with a focus on the retail sector and is regarded as a leading specialist.

She joins from Keystone Law where she represented both landlords and tenants and has a wealth of experience in property insolvency issues. She has also dealt with leases and land acquisitions related to the renewable energy sector.

 “We continue our successful strategy of hiring top candidates in real estate law, which is in line with DJB’s people-centric business model,” said Peter Allinson, the firm’s Chief Executive Officer. “We only engage senior professionals with more than 10 years’ post qualification experience; and we free them of any supervision, management or business development responsibilities. This gives our lawyers the opportunity to offer their full attention to clients and provide them with the best legal advice available in the market. We look forward to working with Rima.”

We hope that you’ve found this edition of the Legal Diary interesting. If so please pass on to colleagues.

Please note that in mid-May we are introducing various technical changes and will not be publishing on Friday 13th.

But please continues sending your Diary news, legal comment and insights to:

fennell.edward@yahoo.com

Edward Fennell’s LEGAL DIARY

Friday 22 April 2022 Edition 103

Diary news, commentary, insights, appointments and arts from the legal world

SHORT THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

Can we expect to see fewer from across the globe in British courts? Image courtesy of BBC

Crystal ball gazing has always been a difficult art but made almost impossible when the crystal ball itself is smashed and shattered into fragments. One of those fragments is the cost-of-living and inflation. Another is still marked Covid. But the biggest and most jagged is a bloody Ukraine.

All of these represent a world of uncertainty for lawyers. But what does look certain is that the horizons within which Western lawyers can operate are contracting and that globalisation is at an end for the foreseeable future. The urgent drive for greater self-reliance in the West and the draining of trust from autocratic regimes suggest that the vision of a rules-based global future is crumpling. Even in the leafy suburb of Wimbledon the rules are becoming arbitrary. So will participation in the courts become smaller as force majeur takes charge?

The LegalDiarist

LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

Thomson Reuters Institute (TRI) Tells It Like It Was

– Wild at Heart at Hogan Lovells

– Solicitors’ Charity Stumps Up Less

– Baker’s Partner Makes Her Mark

– Conversion Course for Social Welfare Legal Workers

– Good excuse for not Jubileeing

– Clarke Willmott – Bowled Over

LEGAL COMMENT OF THE FORTNIGHT including the Assange case and Funkypigeon’s cybersecurity issue by Mishcon De Reya, Fladgate, First4Lawyers and Wedlake Bell

CONTRIBUTED ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

TRUST REGISTRATION SERVICE EXPANSION COULD AFFECT THOUSANDS warns Ben Taylor

APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK at Morgan Lewis and Shakespeare Martineau

E- VENTS including Swedish Ambassador to speak to Leeds lawyers about Ukraine and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators’ Panel

LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

Buyer’s Remorse?

Thomson Reuters Institute (TRI) Tells It Like It Was

A week is a long time in politics and three months is certainly a long time in the world of geo-politics. So while there is much to digest and appreciate in the 2022 ‘State of the UK Legal Market’ review from the Thomson Reuters Institute (TRI) the ‘elephant in the report’ is the complete absence of any reference to Ukraine or the new world economic order which we are entering. One cannot blame TRI for that – the research involving 265 senior corporate counsel and 29 global law firms was obviously undertaken some time ago – but the absence of any reference to, for example, major changes in the oil or gas market gives a slightly unworldly feel to the analysis. The irony is the report highlights, as a generality, the huge emphasis now placed by UK clients on ‘a law firm’s ability to grasp the strategic business challenges with which those clients are wrestling and are seeking a lawyer’s skill in packaging commercial solutions’.

“Law firms need to target their services to the areas in which clients most need assistance in order to better capture a larger share of this spending,” says the report. How law firms can calibrate their Eastern European services in the years ahead is going to be one of the most challenging issues for law firms’ management. It will be fascinating to see what Thomson Reuters has to say about it this time next year.

Download the State of the UK Legal Market 2022 report.

Wild at Heart at Hogan Lovells

Linnensuo – A good place to work from home pro bono

As all good environmentalists know, today is EARTH DAY with the theme of “Invest In Our Planet” – and to mark the occasion Hogan Lovells is introducing phase two of its “Rewilding Hogan Lovells” initiative.

This does not mean allowing the weeds to grow outside their offices – as seems to be the case in the LegalDiarist’s manor where ‘Wilding’ is all the rage at the local council – but, instead, focuses on ‘preserving healthy ecosystems and cultural heritage in the Arctic North’ and co-operating with re-wilding organisations.

The favourite project right now is the Snowchange Cooperative in Selkie, eastern Finland, a non-profit cooperative representing northern Indigenous and local communities across the Arctic and boreal which is rewilding a former peat extraction site in Linnensuo. In the front line will be the reindeer-herding Sámi who are described by the firm as ‘the only indigenous people of Europe’ (although it is not clear to the LegalDiarist where that leaves the native Irish, Scots or Welsh).

Meanwhile back on its home-turf, so to speak, the firm is starting to work with ‘Rewilding Europe’ to support the further development of rewilding across Europe through pro bono legal advice. The firm is also sponsoring a six part film series showcasing the vision for rewilding specific landscapes.

“This helps to position our firm as a driver of nature-based innovations to tackle the rapidly advancing climate crisis, as well as aiding the crucial protection and restoring of biodiversity,” said Philip Brown, one of the sponsoring partners, “Our continuing support highlights our firm’s strategy of supporting innovation in environmental protection and advancing our sustainability goals and complements our  efforts to operate our own business more sustainably.” 

Everyone at Hogan Lovells is expected to dedicate at least 25 hours each year to approved pro bono and community investment work including rewilding.

Solicitors’ Charity Stumps Up Less

Demands on the support offered by The Solicitors’ Charity eased very slightly last year compared with the £1,109,507 awarded in 2020 at the height of the pandemic. Instead, as reported in the charity’s annual Big Report, in 2021 it handed out £1,024,218, a drop of £85K.

Significantly, for the first time in five years, more men (54%) requested support than women (46%) with ‘one-off’ financial awards covering a range of necessities, such as household equipment and medical aids. Also of potential significance is that for the first time, in 2021, the majority of new cases were solicitors identifying as black, Asian or from another ethnic minority background. Just 47% identified as white.

The report also shows that more people under the age of 60 were supported in 2021, compared to 2020, with seven in ten new applicants being in their 50s or lower. It also highlighted that most of the charity’s primary beneficiaries work for small firms or are sole practitioners.

“The charity’s support is now increasingly more tailored to the individual client,” said Nick Gallagher, The Solicitors’ Charity Chief Executive, “with 34% being spent last year on one-off awards rather than daily living allowances and other forms of support. 

“We support solicitors in more ways than just providing financial support. Some of the things we have purchased that make a difference to our client’s lives include wheelchairs, physio equipment, domestic boilers, cookers and carpets.”

Advice and counselling is also a core part of the support which is available. The organisation LawCare was helped by the fund to support the mental health and well-being of 342 solicitors while17 solicitors in need of career counselling were referred to Renovo and 43 were given financial and debt advice.

Download your copy of Support for Solicitors: The Big Report here: https://thesolicitorscharity.org/big-report/ 

Find out more about The Solicitors’ Charity by visiting https://thesolicitorscharity.org/

Baker’s Partner Makes Her Mark

Congratulations to Rachel Wilkinson-Duffy (above, receiving her badge of office), a partner with Baker McKenzie, who has been elected as the President of The Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (CITMA). She succeeds Richard Goddard.

Wilkinson-Duffy has had an interesting career having joined CITMA as a Student member in 2004 while working as a legal secretary for a boutique trade mark firm. She qualified as a trade mark attorney in 2010 and obtained higher courts litigation rights in 2013.

“I will work to continue to empower newly qualified practitioners to embrace taking advantage of the full range of their advocacy and litigation rights, as well as ensuring the trade mark attorney profession is at the forefront of attracting diverse new talent,” she said, adding that rights of representation before the UK IPO is a live issue for CITMA’s members and the IP sector, and one that she is determined to take forward.

“I want to ensure the views of the trade mark legal profession continue to be heard by the UK IPO and that the best outcome is achieved from its ongoing digital transformation project,” she said.

Conversion Course for Social Welfare Legal Workers

The Social Welfare Solicitors Qualification Fund (SWSQF) has secured funding for a first cohort of 22 social welfare legal workersto undergo conversion courses into social welfare solicitors.

Supported financially by 18 major law firms and the City of London Solicitors’ Company Charitable Fund the SWSQF aims to make dozens of awards annually so as to cover selected candidates’ full training and assessment costs. They will study part-time while continuing to work in their current social welfare roles. Once they are qualified it is estimated that each of the new social welfare solicitors will deliver over 1,200 social welfare law hours annually.

“The Social Welfare Solicitors Qualification Fund is a great initiative and really important,” said Dame Alison Saunders, Partner, Linklaters LLP and former Director of Public Prosecutions. “I have seen first-hand the impact of not having enough criminal legal aid lawyers who are vital to ensuring that all members of society have access to justice which is a fundamental part of the rule of law. I welcome legal organisations financially supporting the initiative.”

 Meanwhile Dan Carden, MP for Liverpool Walton, said, Removing barriers to entry to the [legal] profession will help to alleviate difficulties in accessing advice, particularly following the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic. I am proud to give my support to a scheme that will help qualifying solicitors provide constituents, like mine, with the advice they need so desperately.” 

The SWSQF is led by the City of London Law Society in partnership with legal training provider BARBRI and Young Legal Aid Lawyers.

AND SOME QUICK UP-DATES FROM LAST WEEK

Good excuse for not Jubileeing

Herbert Smith Freehills has announced a new initiative to offer its employees in the UK more flexibility around public holidays.

In effect they will be able to swap three public holidays each year for days off elsewhere in the same calendar year. And for 2022 that will include the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday. So staff can absent themselves from the public celebrations with a clear conscience (along with Harry and Meghan). ‘Street party? Sorry, I’ll be in the office’.

Clarke Willmott – Bowled Over

Red ball or white?

Given the state of English cricket it needs all the help it can get. So down in the West Country there have been whoops of joy that  Clarke Willmott has renewed its partnership with Somerset County Cricket Club (SCCC).

Having provided the Club with legal advice for over 30 years, the firm will remain as SCCC’s Preferred Legal Partner.

 “Following what has been another challenging year for the Club and the country as a whole, we are delighted to have again renewed our long-standing partnership with Somerset County Cricket Club and are very pleased to remain as their preferred legal partner,” said Chris Thorne, partner and head of Clarke Willmott’s Taunton office. “Having spent a day sitting in the sunshine enjoying the pre-season warm up against Gloucestershire, I can recommend the restorative qualities of watching cricket as an antidote to all that has been going on around us.”

Yes, but has he watched England recently?

LEGAL COMMENT OF THE FORTNIGHT by Mishcon De Reya, Fladgate, First4Lawyers and Wedlake Bell

TOPIC: The decision of the Westminster magistrates’ court to ap, prove the extradition of Julian Assange to the US

COMMENT BY: Thomas Garner, Extradition Partner, Fladgate

Assange is notionally a step closer to extradition to the US, however there could still be additional traction in this case. Assange’s lawyers have already indicated that they intend to launch a further challenge at the High Court.

He may have another opportunity to avoid extradition as the line of challenge terminated by the Supreme Court ultimately followed a victory at first instance by Assange. In that decision, Assange won on a single point but lost on several others. The Magistrate’s decision to block his extradition was appealed by the US, but Assange did not himself make a cross appeal on the other matters. It is here that his team will focus their fire now.

Eyebrows will be raised at the amount of time Assange has managed to secure in the UK since he emerged from the Ecuadorian embassy but he undoubtedly remains in a very precarious position.

If the High Court were to refuse permission to appeal then he would reach the end of the line domestically, but if he succeeds in securing permission to appeal then his challenge could last for many months yet. The saga continues for now.”

TOPIC: Funkypigeon.com’s suspension due to a cybersecurity incident

COMMENT BY:  Mark Tibbs, Cyber Intelligence Director at MDR Cyber at Mishcon De Reya

“Cyber attacks are now unfortunately a part of the modern business risk landscape. While we don’t currently know the extent of the attack against Funkypigeon.com, businesses should consider the risks of cyber extortion, fraud and data breaches as part of their incident response planning.

“To minimise disruption to customers and losses to the business, teams should be prepared to tackle these incidents with both a well-drilled technical response to recover systems, but importantly also a response to pursue legal options such as recovery of lost funds.”

TOPIC: The data from the third quarter of operation of the Official Injury Claim portal.  

 COMMENT BY: Andy Cullwick, First4Lawyers

The MoJ has tried to brush off the underwhelming statistics as teething problems, but that’s wearing thin nine months in and with no sign of improvement.

Rather than eliminating fraudulent cases, could the fall in claims be down to the disastrous system which has proved so complicated to use that people instead choose not to bother? We simply don’t know.

What we do know is that it has failed from Day One and if those in charge are genuine about delivering access to justice, they will accept responsibility for its failure and take urgent steps to try and fix it.”

 TOPIC: Claims that Apple was able to access personal information on workers’ phones after a privacy complaint was lodged by a whistleblower.

 COMMENT BY:  Alexander Dittel, data protection partner at Wedlake Bell

“Accessing information on a personal device without a good reason, appropriate notice and protections against function creep is inconsistent with data protection laws and indeed human rights. We do not know enough to comment on the complaint at this stage but if the allegations are true there will certainly be a public interest in investigating them.

Modern technologies often enable new functionalities which cross the boundaries of lawfulness regardless of the best intentions of innovators. Any access to private data will likely be judged on the scope of the interference with privacy, the objectives pursued and the individuals’ reasonable expectations. Limited access to technical data will not cause as much upset as deliberate excessive access to private data. However, if any wrongdoing is indeed proven, it will not have been the first time for a US corporation to misjudge the balancing tests which are so crucial to European data protection laws.”

CONTRIBUTED ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

TRUST REGISTRATION SERVICE EXPANSION COULD AFFECT THOUSANDS warns Ben Taylor, associate solicitor at Roythornes Solicitors,

THE TRUST Registration Service (TRS) was set up in 2017 as part of an anti-money laundering directive. However, recent changes to the Trust Registration Service have been difficult for experts to interpret, which realistically means that people with joint ownership arrangements and other trustees will find it very difficult to independently assess their situation.

In a timely manner, the Law Society has published guidance that has helped practitioners gain clarity on the new legislation and it is our hope to bring attention to these changes to help ensure people don’t have a nasty surprise.

Now that many more trusts are required to register, people are most likely to find themself facing the question of registration if they own property jointly where one person holds for themselves and another. So, for example, where a couple marry, the wife already owning a property gifts 50% to her new partner, without updating the legal title. Of course, this is only an example, and the rules affect civil partnerships, cohabitees, and people not in relationships equally.

In a marriage or civil partnership scenario, the gift itself would typically fall within the exemption for Capital Gains Tax and usually there will be no need to update the title at the Land Registry. Very often, such gifts are completed by a Declaration of Trust, whereby the person making the gift declares that they hold the property on trust for themself and for their partner in whatever proportions they decide.

It is now understood that such trusts, both new and existing, are required to register with the TRS. However, there are two exceptions. One is where the legal owners and the beneficial owners are the same, so if in the aforementioned example the legal title was updated so both individuals were registered as legal owner, that would be excluded from the requirement to register.

The second is where a statutory trust has arisen. In respect of that arrangement, only four people can be registered on the legal title to property, so a legal trust arises where property is owned by, say, five people.

It will be important for people outside of the exceptions to consider the costs of registration, the ongoing administration requirements, and the possible access to the TRS by others involved with money laundering investigations, compared with the costs of registering new legal owners.

“In most cases, updating the Land Registry title to include all names will be the simpler, long-term option.

Generally, for existing registrable trusts, registration is required by September 2022. For arrangements created after 4 June 2022, it is within 90 days of creation or meeting the criteria for registration. Failing to register may result in a penalty.

Where the lead trustee registers up to three months from the due date a £100 penalty is possible, moving up to a £200 penalty three-to-six months after the due date, before becoming a penalty of £300 or five per cent of the tax liability depending on whichever is the greater sum when registered more than six months late.

HMRC has historically been lenient with penalties, but people should not rely on this.

My advice for people with this sort of arrangement is to consider the issue of registration as early as possible, so that regardless of whether or not you wish to register your trust you have allowed adequate time to receive advice and support making the necessary changes.” 

APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK

Richard Hanson (below) is joining Morgan Lewis as a partner in its London office where it is expanding its global structured transactions practice.

Previously with Orrick, Hanson has extensive experience in representing private funds on structured credit matters and securitisation transactions,

“Rick brings strong synergistic opportunities to collaborate with colleagues in our investment management practice,” said Morgan Lewis Chair Jami McKeon. “His capabilities both broaden and deepen our strength and the services we provide to our fund clients in an important jurisdiction.”

Frances Murphy, managing partner of the London office, commented, “We look forward to welcoming Rick as our most recent addition in London. His skillset overlaps nicely with our service offerings for our global financial institution and fund-related clients.”

Other recent additions to Morgan Lewis’s structured transactions practice includes Steven Becker and Alex Velinsky in New York and Washington, DC, respectively.

Catherine Rustomji (below) is joining  Shakespeare Martineau to head up the firm’s national charity team.

Previously a partner and charities practice head at Browne Jacobson, Rustomji has been exclusively advising charities, social enterprises and not for profit organisations (specialising in charity law and governance, not for profit legal structures, trustee training and board development) for more than 20 years. Prior to that she worked at DWF, Hempsons, Dickinson Dees and Stone King, and was a charity trustee for Yorkshire Cancer Research.

“Shakespeare Martineau is a focused firm, which has a clear strategy for its people and itself, so I am delighted to be working at the core of a strong team to offer a complete service to our charities and not for profit clients,” said Rustomji.“Operating in the charity and not for profit sector has never been more challenging or more stimulating, with social, economic and political upheavals, scarce resources, and mounting needs and expectations.”

E-VENTS

SWEDISH AMBASSADOR CALLS OUT PUTIN IN LEEDS

On Monday next (25 April 18:00 – 19:30) as part of Leeds Beckett University’s Leeds Law School’s ‘Law in Practice’ lecture series, Ambassador Ehrenkrona of Sweden will share a legal breakdown of the invasion in Ukraine, examine the Crime of Aggression and answer the question, can Putin be prosecuted?During his career, Ambassador Ehrekrona served as Director-General for Legal Affairs in the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Throughout his career, he represented the Swedish Government in cases before international courts including The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and the European Court of Justice in Luxemburg. He worked on cases before the UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies and represented Sweden in the UN Sixth Committee.

He also represented Sweden in the final stages of the negotiations on the Crime of Aggression and the subsequent amendments to be included in the Rome Statute.

The lecture is free. To book tickets visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-invasion-of-ukraine-russia-the-international-criminal-court-and-putin-tickets-311903300167

The Chartered Institute of ArbitratorsPanel Discussion on the best forum for low-value disputes.

26th April at 6:30pm-8pm at the Stevens & Bolton offices in Guildford

Panellists include arbitration experts  Michael Frisby (Partner at Stevens & Bolton), Kim Franklin QC (Crown Office Chambers), Matt Molloy (MCMS Ltd) and Alice Sims (Keating Chambers)

The debate will address which jurisdiction can best solve lower-value disputes, with litigation, arbitration, adjudication and mediation each having their merits analysed. Each expert will advocate for one jurisdiction, with the audience voting for the best method. 

The session is open to non-members across the industry.
For more, contact Harry Rogers, Senior Account Executive

Farrer Kane  Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7415 7154 Mob: +44 (0) 7887 378 968

We hope that you enjoyed your Easter break. We had a great time on the Watercress Steam line and at Danebury Hill Fort in Hampshire. Nonetheless we look forward to returning next week.

So please send your Diary news, views and legal comment and insight to

fennell.edward@yahoo.co.uk

Edward Fennell’s LEGAL DIARY

Friday 8th April 2022 Edition 102

Diary news, commentary, insights, appointments and arts from the legal world

SHORT THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK – POLICING THE DOGS OF WAR

Russian prisoners: They Need Protection Too – Image Courtesy of YouTube

In the aftermath of the revelations about the atrocities in Bucha a young Ukrainian soldier was interviewed by a British journalist. He said bluntly and bitterly. “We’re not going to be taking prisoners anymore.”

The journalist seemed to let it pass, impressed by the soldier’s sense of righteousness revenge. But, following that admission, it came as no great surprise yesterday when it was reported that a wounded and captured Russian had been shot dead by Ukrainian forces (or, possibly, their Georgian allies).

The issue of war crimes is, then, going to get very dirty, very quickly. Will subsequent investigations be even-handed? Will ordinary soldiers on both sides be held to account or will their commanders be in the dock? Where does the buck stop?

Forty years on the UK is still grappling with these questions from The Troubles in N. Ireland. How a workable frame of justice can be set up for this war in Ukraine remains to be seen. But to retain moral authority it has to be balanced from the start.

The LegalDiarist

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE LEGAL DIARY will NOT be appearing over the Easter period . We wish you a peaceful, travel-free holiday.

IN THIS WEEK’S EDITION

LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

– Fighting the law and fighting for the law: Biography of Leslie Thomas QC

– London International Disputes Week: Details announced

London Solicitors Litigation Association (LSLA) Appoints a New President

Survey Highlights Benefits of ‘No Fault’ Divorce

LEGAL COMMENT OF THE WEEK on ‘No Fault’ divorce, the Government’s new energy strategy, libel proceedings against former Tory MP

APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK at LEVEL and Wedlake Bell

E-VENTS at Gresham College

LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

Fighting the law and fighting for the law

Leslie Thomas QC Image courtesy of Gresham College

If you are looking for some riveting reading over the Easter break then ‘Do Right And Fear No One’ by  Leslie Thomas QC  might fit the bill. Name the top scandals in British justice over the past two generations and you’ll find Thomas involved on the side of the angels trying to sort them out. From the IRA Birmingham pub bombings in the 1970’s through to the  New Cross Fire inquest and on to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry (plus many other cases) you will find Thomas steely eyed in his determination to secure justice. There is all this and more in Thomas’s story of what his publisher Simon & Schuster describes as the lawyer’s commitment to ‘fighting for the underdog and holding the State to account’.

In time honoured fashion it was his own experience of being picked on by the authorities as a young black man that crafted his determination to challenge the status quo. Having overcome an array of challenges he moved through the ranks to become the Joint Head of Garden Court Chambers in the UK and head of JC Legal Solutions in the Caribbean. He is now a Bencher for the Inner Temple and a member of the Bar Standards Board.

But as his publisher comments, “Few in the UK have done as much to shine a light on the shockingly high number of deaths that have occurred in police custody, and Thomas delves deep into the corruption that seems to abound within the policing institution across the U.K. From disproving wrongful arrests concocted to justify police violence, to bringing in experts to conclude that deaths in police custody occurred due to positional asphyxia rather than Sudden Adult Death Syndrome, Thomas continues to act for the underdog rather than the Establishment.”

As featured previously in the Legal Diary, Thomas has recently been holding the legal and judicial system to account through his lecture series at Gresham College. Now Thomas observes, strikingly, ‘When people ask me what I do, sometimes I say that I represent the dead…’ So ‘British justice’ – still very much a work in progress.

DO RIGHT AND FEAR NO ONE A LIFE DEDICATED TO FIGHTING FOR JUSTICE PROFESSOR LESLIE THOMAS QC 14th April 2022 | Hardback | £20.00 | Simon & Schuster

London International Disputes Week: Details announced

‘Global, Sustainable, Ethical?’’ is the strapline for this year’s London International Disputes Week (LIDW) which will take place in hybrid format from the 9-13th May.

There’s going to be very much an international flavour including an innovative discussion of dispute resolution across a range of jurisdictions following the “disputes sun” as it traverses from Asia through to the USA. Consequentially, the online events will cover East Asia, India, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, the CEE, Africa, offshore disputes, Latin America, Brazil and North America. Headlines speakers will include the President of the Law Society, I. Stephanie Boyce; President of the Supreme Court, Lord Reed;  and  Judge Loretta Preska (Senior Judge, former Chief Justice, US District Courts, Southern District of NY, USA)., comments:

“This year’s LIDW will be truly international, with a hybrid programme allowing those around the world to join discussions on the new challenges faced by the dispute resolution community,” said Richard Bamforth, Chair of the LIDW Strategy Group. “This year’s theme, ‘Global, Sustainable, Ethical?’ will be explored by thought leaders from clients to senior judges, experts to arbitrators, examining our role in the wider corporate landscape, whilst also reflecting on our own practices and their global impact.”

Highly topical will be a panel discussion on climate change in disputes, with a focus on disputes that states and corporates may face arising from climate change and energy transition issues. There will also be consideration of whether “winning at all costs” is sustainable in the long term. Whether issues arising out of the war in Ukraine will surface remain to be seen.

For full details go to: https://lidw.co.uk/#

London Solicitors Litigation Association (LSLA) Appoints a New President

In line with the tone of the International Disputes Week, the London Solicitors Litigation Association (LSLA) forsees a surge in litigation coming London’s way. The war in Ukraine, it points out, will be central to this. But that simply adds to the heavy backlog of disputes arising out of Covid and Brexit (remember that? quite a lot of fuss about it back in 2016).

Nicholas Heaton

So it’s a testing time to be the new President of the LSLA – but that’s the lot which has fallen to Nicholas Heaton, a Hogan Lovells Partner and leader of the firm’s litigation practice in London. “I am honoured to take over the reins as President of the LSLA in what is a highly dynamic time for UK litigation,” said Heaton. “ London litigators and the Courts acquitted themselves well during the pandemic and, as we leave behind the restrictions it imposed, in many respects we now have a more modern and tech-based approach to litigation. There is more change to come.  Events such as Brexit, Covid-19 and now the war in Ukraine will continue to influence litigation in London for many years.”

Referring to the LSLA’s annual litigation trends survey, Heaton commented that the Association’s members highlighted the importance of social mobility, diversity, inclusive work place culture and mental health and wellbeing. He also paid tribute to his predecessor Chris Bushell. “He was a fantastic leader and led important discussions around managing the impact of the pandemic, while at the same time ensuring that the LSLA was honouring its commitments elsewhere.” 

Survey Highlights Benefits of ‘No Fault’ Divorce

Fortunately, it was an amicable divorce – Image courtesy of IMD Solicitors

This week will go down in the history of family law in the UK as the point when, finally, no-fault divorce became real and was no longer a phantom waiting over the horizon. As the LEGAL COMMENT (further below) illustrates it has attracted, unsurprisingly, massive interest.

Meanwhile, research undertaken by Fladgate reveals just how much ‘No fault’ was wanted and needed by couples who had realised that they had made an honest mistake in choosing their life partner.

According to the research more than a quarter (28%) of divorcees believe a ‘no fault’ divorce would have made the process less acrimonious or hostile and 47% of divorced people suggested that a no fault divorce would have made the process simpler and quicker. Other benefits suggested include that a ‘ No fault’ would have placed less of a strain on children’s mental health and wellbeing and, indeed, less strain on the relationshi between parents and children.

That said there is a significant difference between the genders. While 7 in 10 men would have chosen a no fault divorce, for women the figure is reduced to 4 in 10. (The implication being, presumably, that more women than men ‘blame’ their spouse for what went wrong).

“The introduction of no fault divorce has been eagerly anticipated in the UK,” said Teresa Cullen Family Law Partner at Fladgate. “This research demonstrates just how transformative the new rules may be in improving the UK’s divorce process.”

LEGAL COMMENT OF THE WEEK

TOPIC: NO-FAULT DIVORCE

COMMENT BY:Alex Carruthers, Partner at Hughes Fowler Carruthers.

This is a huge leap towards a more civilised and amicable divorce process, ending the requirement to prove nasty allegations of behaviour. It is a relief to virtually the entire legal profession who believe that the previously antiquated divorce process caused unnecessary acrimony for separating couples and their families”.

It has taken decades since the last unworkable no-fault divorce law for the Government to accept the need for further reform. This will save 65,000 or more divorcing couples each year from having to prove fault to get a divorce. This means people won’t waste money on an argument that has no bearing on anything other than why the marriage broke down.”

COMMENT BY: Sam Longworth, Partner and Divorce and Family Lawyer at Stewarts 

 “The framework for our divorce system dates back to 1973… and the requirement of one party to prove the fault of the other in order to obtain a divorce within two years of separation has seemed very out of sync with modern values and views for a very long time indeed.

“The breakdown of a marriage is always a difficult time for everyone, and the decision to divorce is never one that is taken lightly. Once that decision is made, having to highlight the fault of one party either through infidelity or examples of unreasonable behaviour can create far more difficulties and lead to anger and resentment, which can make the dialogue regarding children and finances more difficult.”


COMMENT BY: Hannah Gumbrill-Ward, Solicitor at Winckworth Sherwood

This is a welcome step in the modernisation of divorce.  Not only will the removal of blame from the breakdown of a marriage aid couples in reaching swifter financial agreements, but also by removing the need to prove facts such as adultery or unreasonable behaviour, it will help to keep private details out of court hearings.  This is particularly important at a time when the prospect of greater press reporting in the Family Courts is looming on the horizon, following the publication of the President’s report in October 2021, which will affect everyone, not only high-profile couples.

COMMENT BY: Amanda Rimmer, partner in the family law department at Stephensons

Wanting to separate can happen for a variety of reasons, including couples who want to end a relationship on very amicable terms where both have simply fallen out of love.  This was not easy to do at all and would force them into having to complain about their spouse’s behaviour.  These changes should, in theory, put an end to the blame game and make it much easier for people to bring their legal relationships to a conclusion. Gone are the allegations of affairs and unreasonable behaviour.

At the same time, these changes could leave one person reeling from the ease with which their partner can end their relationship. Simply signing a statement of irretrievable break down and issuing the Application with a quick click of a button online, starts a digital process of ending the relationship. The changes also mean that the ability to defend the Application will also be made much more difficult, meaning if one partner says the relationship has irretrievably broken down, the other has no grounds to say otherwise.

It seems inevitable that these changes would eventually come about, and it will certainly be interesting to see whether rates the rates of divorce or dissolution increase over the course of the year as a result.” 

COMMENT BY: Helen Bowns, partner and head of the family team,  Shakespeare Martineau

Ending a marriage is already a stressful decision, and for couples who have reached it mutually and civilly, it can be upsetting to choose who the proceedings will be made against. Applying jointly will remove this unnecessary formality and lessen the chance of blame creeping into the equation.

Removing the option to contest a divorce is a vital step forward, stopping people from being trapped in a marriage that they no longer want to be part of.”

Divorce terminology has also been judged to be outdated, so this is being brought up to date. For example, the person applying for the divorce will be called the applicant, rather than the petitioner. As well as this, the decree nisi will become the conditional order and the decree absolute will be known as the final order.These terminology changes may seem minor, but they bring the divorce process into the 21st century. People don’t want to be translating Latin phrases when coming to terms with the end of their marriage. Making each element of divorce as clear as possible will reduce confusion and help people to understand the process they’re going through more easily.”

COMMENT BY: Sam Longworth, Partner and Divorce and Family Lawyer at Stewarts 

 “The framework for our divorce system dates back to 1973… and the requirement of one party to prove the fault of the other in order to obtain a divorce within two years of separation has seemed very out of sync with modern values and views for a very long time indeed.

The breakdown of a marriage is always a difficult time for everyone, and the decision to divorce is never one that is taken lightly. Once that decision is made, having to highlight the fault of one party either through infidelity or examples of unreasonable behaviour can create far more difficulties and lead to anger and resentment, which can make the dialogue regarding children and finances more difficult.”

TOPIC The UK Government’s Energy Strategy

Looking fake? No, it’s real hot air

COMMENT BY: Mustafa Latif-Aramesh, Legal Director at BDB Pitmans

The strategy sets out a target for more nuclear – but it’s worth noting the experience of two recent, conventional nuclear projects. The nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C carried out its first consultation in 2009, it then made an application for planning consent in 2011, which was granted in 2013 (with the gird connection granted consent in 2016) and is due to open in 2026. The new nuclear power station at Sizewell C had its first consultation in 2012, applied for its planning consent in 2020, and is due to be decided next month and if consented, built by the early 2030s. It is clear therefore that planning reforms, upscaling of the supply chain and investment are needed to meet the ambitions in the strategy.”

COMMENT BY: Henry Davey, Partner in the Energy team at law firm McCarthy Denning comments:

 “The government’s energy strategy strikes me as a lamentable policy judging from its press release. It fails on every leg of the energy trilemma: security of supply, carbon and energy costs.

The government’s reaction to Putin’s aggression is to build nuclear power stations to be commissioned after he has left office. This is instead of ramping up gas production from the North Sea to assist Germany to turn off Russian gas immediately.

“ Furthermore, an obligation for the oil companies to apply their super profits to carbon projects looks like completely missing from the strategy.

 Finally, the government fails to take immediate steps to reduce energy costs. There is no suggestion of a campaign to reduce energy demand, increase efficiency and make sure that the quickest and lowest cost of generation available to the UK – on shore wind – is built right now.”

COMMENT BY: Angus Walker, Partner at BDB Pitmans

 “Fracking and North Sea oil exploration are back on the table, nuclear ambitions have returned to the 2008 position instead of embracing new technology, and onshore wind, the fastest and cheapest type of renewable electricity, has been vetoed once again because of outdated views of its costs and acceptability.  What’s more, just having targets is not enough – there are no caps on new capacity at the moment – so other measures must be taken to speed up implementation.  The move to cut planning times for offshore wind by 75% is intriguing especially given that the government itself has not made an offshore wind planning decision on time since 2015.”

COMMENT BY: Zoe Stollard, Partner in the Energy and Infrastructure team, Browne Jacobson

It’s great to hear that the Government has taken a clear stance on energy security and that we’re stepping up renewable energy generation across the UK. We expect to see a significant increase in our solar power and onshore wind development work going forward, as well as many other types of renewable schemes.

We’re also very pleased that the energy security strategy includes building up to eight new nuclear plants in the UK by 2050. We have seen at Hinkley Point C how, not only does large-scale nuclear create low carbon, reliable and affordable energy, it also creates high-quality jobs and drives economic growth. The recent Nuclear Finance Act coupled with government funding support will allow Sizewell C and some of the small-scale nuclear reactors to get off the ground. The UK has operated nuclear power for decades and has in place a well-respected nuclear regulatory system which reflects international best practice and which places an extremely high value on safety.”

TOPIC: The libel proceedings brought by Mohamed Amersi against former Conservative MP Charlotte Leslie and the Conservative Middle East Council (CMEC),

COMMENT BY: Mohamed Amersi

My objectives all along have been to understand the extent and full nature of the false and defamatory statements which had been published about me; to have the record set straight; to restore my good name; and to receive a full apology. Miss Leslie and CMEC have not taken the opportunity to provide the remedies I seek, leaving me with no choice but to pursue those remedies through the Court.  

 “Like any citizen, I have a right to defend and restore my reputation when it has been attacked unfairly, and I look forward to the opportunity of having the evidence heard in full in court. I am confident that I will prevail.”

Mr Amersi’s solicitors are Carter-Ruck

APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK

Sofia Moussaoui is joining Level as its first family lawyer serving clients in the firm’s core sectors of music, entertainment, sport and technology. .

 Previously with Axiom DWFM, Moussaoui’s expertise is in complex and substantial international cases, which includes the resolution of sensitive issues involving children and financial matters. She focuses on developing close personal relationships with her clients and a tactical and intelligence-based approach to litigation. She was the winner of the Lawyer Monthly – Women in Law family lawyer of the year 2017 award and a finalist in the Lexis Nexis Family Awards 2019, International Lawyer of the Year 2019.

Sofia is an exciting addition to Level’s network since she brings family law expertise for clients within our focus areas of music, entertainment, sport and technology,” said .Morris Bentata, Partner at Level. “This is a significant expansion of our capabilities, and we can now offer our clients an even broader range of legal services.”

Matthew Brunsdon-Tully is joining the Family team at Wedlake Bell as a partner. He will also be Head of Family ADR and Innovation.

Brunsdon-Tully is ‘Top Recommended’ in Spear’s 500 2021 and 2022, has been described by the Legal 500 as being “energetic, empathetic and can always see the bigger picture”, He is also Vice-Chair of the Resolution Pensions, Tax and Financial Remedies Committee.

 Brunsdon-Tully was originally a Barrister at 1 Hare Court where he gained expertise in all areas of family litigation including financial remedies, private law children, and jurisdiction disputes. Subsequently he became a Partner at Forsters.

I am delighted to welcome Matthew to the Wedlake Bell partnership,” said Martin Arnold, Managing Partner at Wedlake Bell. “He is an outstanding lawyer with a wealth of expertise and experience that will add incredible value to the firm’s Family offering.”

E-VENTS

Freezing Eggs and Delaying Fertility: Law, Ethics and Society

Professor Imogen Goold

Monday 11 April 1pm-2pm Gresham College, Barnard’s Inn Hall/ Online/ Watch Later

https://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/fertility-law

In her lecture, Professor Goold will look at how we frequently accept the assumption that women are not properly informed and make poor decisions about how long they can wait to have children, drawing on data about what motivates them to wait, the effect this has on their careers, their understanding of fertility decline, and their attitudes towards their eggs. In other words, this lecture critiques the point of view that egg freezing could give women false hope and encourage delays.

Goold will say that there are some key reasons that women may delay having children: women say being in the right relationship, having financial security, owning their own home, and having access to affordable childcare and flexible working are key.

“Indeed, if we are to empower women and respect their choices, we should presume that whatever choice they make in relation to egg freezing is – in so far as it is based on accurate information – for them in their current situation and relative to the other choices before them, the best option. To prevent her from choosing freely is unacceptably paternalistic, particularly when that the harm she may suffer—the inability to conceive—is a sad, possibly damaging outcome, but a far cry from a choice that may endanger her life. In fact, under English law, she is at liberty to make choices that will end her life. Where only self-harm results, the law rightly places only minimal limits on individual freedom, thereby respecting individual autonomy, including reproductive autonomy. It would of course be far better if women did not need to risk their fertility, but paternalistically reducing women’s options for addressing the challenges they face does not empower them. Far from it.” Goold will say.

Touching on workplaces offering egg freezing, Goold will say: “it is possible that women in the workforce may find themselves under pressure to take up such offers,” however, she will conclude that overall, more choice should be empowering, and “the best solution remains leaving the decision to individual women, but committing ourselves to continue to address those societal barriers that we can address.”

You can sign up to watch the lecture online or in person via the links below;

https://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/fertility-law

We hope that you have found this edition of the Legal Diary useful. If so, please relay on to colleagues.

PLEASE NOTE THAT WE SHALL NOT BE PUBLISHING OVER THE EASTER PERIOD

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Edward Fennell’s LEGAL DIARY

Friday 1st April 2022 Edition 101

Diary news, commentary, insights, appointments and arts from the legal world

SHORT THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK – P&O RAISES THE JOLLY ROGER

On a collision course with the law?

There was a kind of existential moment of shock when P&O Ferries Chief executive Peter Hebblethwaite admitted that the company had both broken the law over the firing of its seafarers and would have no compunction about doing so again. And when Mr Hebblethwaite volunteered, insouciantly, that the firm was ready to pay the financial penalty it was more or less an admission that this was simply ‘the price of doing business’ and that the matter of acting illegally gave him no qualms.

Where exactly P&O’s conduct stands on a long scale ranging from knowingly cutting down a tree illegally to invading a peaceful neighbouring country is a matter for philosophical debate. But if as a society we believe in the rule of law then the price to be paid by the offender must surely be both severe and represent a major deterrent to others. Anything less amounts to an admission that ‘might is right’ and that the law is nothing more than a voluntary code.

The LegalDiarist

In this week’s edition

THE LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

– Morgan Lewis Lawyers Get Jamala to the Concert for Ukraine

– No Disputing Quarterly Quality at PCB Byrne

– Retirement Blues

– Writing Off the Office? Not Yet, says Knight Frank

LEGAL COMMENTS OF THE WEEK on the Family Court Statistics Quarterly; the Significance of ‘No Fault’ Divorce; Judicial Appointments

LAW FIRM MANAGEMENT: INSIGHTS OF THE WEEK on ‘Compliance’ for the paralegal sector; Work-life balance in law firms: Minding the generational gap; and addressing the menopause taboo in law.

APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK at Shakespeare Martineau and Ropes & Gray

LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

Morgan Lewis Lawyers Get Jamala to the Concert On Time

She sang here heart out but the lawyers knew the score Image courtesy of Metro

As you might have seen, Tuesday’s Fundraiser concert on ITV for the Disasters Emergency Committee’s Ukrainian humanitarian appeal featured the Ukrainian singer Susana Jamaladinova – stagenameJamala.

She originally shot to Continental fame by winning the 2016 Eurovision song contest with 1944, a song about Stalin’s Crimean deportations – so her appearance could hardly have been more appropriate.However, getting a Ukrainain into the UK right now is harder than estracting a truthful statement out of Vladimir Putin so it required the pro bono skills of Morgan Lewis lawyers Jennifer Connolly and Carina Bryk in the firm’s London immigration team to get the star over the wire and on to the stage in time.

“In a process that would ordinarily take 8 weeks, our immigration team were able to liaise with senior members of the Home Office and UK Music to make exceptional representations to have Jamala and her manager’s visa applications processed and approved in less than 24 hours,” explained the firm.

“Concert for Ukraine and its preparations are an incredible feat,” added Jennifer Connolly. “Given the successful expedited visa application for Jamala, she was able to contribute to the event’s success.”

With the fundraising from the concert, the DEC’s appeal as a whole has now raised £260 million.

No Disputing Quarterly Quality

New to the LegalDiary team was the PCB Byrne Quarterly, a round-up of key dispute resolution developments. Well-presented and written in a lively style the e-magazine covers a refreshingly broad range of topics. Particularly enjoyable was the article in the current edition by Senior Associate Emmeline Coerkamp “Does the future of the SFO hang in the balance?” which discusses the potential impact of the independent review into the workings of the SFO following disclosure failings identified in the Unaoil case. It certainly makes for an uneasy read for SFO Director Lisa Osofsky and adds to the pressure on what was, as Coerkamp puts it, ‘formerly a prosecutor powerhouse’ but is now stumbling badly.

Also interesting was an article by the firm’s Senior Partner Anthony Riem and Associate Andrew McLeodon about the Akhmedova v Akhmedov case which featured the lessons that can be learned about dealing with a recalcitrant defendant in civil fraud proceedings. “Such defendants seek to ignore their obligations to the Court or even actively frustrate the Court’s orders and processes. That type of litigation conduct might be seen in the short term to have benefits, in disrupting or even derailing claims against them. Yet the various powers of the English court to grant interim remedies enable it to interrogate a defendant’s claims and if necessary, find other methods to compel a defendant to comply with their obligations.”

Almost elegiacally there is also a piece on Recent Russian Cases in the English Courts some recent important decisions for Russian parties who chose to litigate before them.’ When, one wonders will we see their like again?

Take a look for yourself at https://www.pcb-byrne.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/PCBB-Quarterly-Newsletter-Q1-2022-004.pdf

Retirement Blues

Yesterday David Kerr stepped down as Bird & Bird’s CEO after a remarkable 26 year term. For someone who has given so much of his life to the firm it must have proved a big wrench. So maybe he might appreciate Clarke Willmott’s Life, Lemons, and the Law podcast series that discusses ‘life changing experiences of all kinds; the story behind them, the immediate impact, and the long term – often positive – consequences’.

The current edition features former England rugby players Damian Hopley and Christian Day who talk about the challenges of retiring from a career which is all-absorbing as well as conferring high status and financial rewards – so pretty similar to the scenario facing senior lawyers as they leave the office for the last time.

Christian Day retired after 17 years as a professional. But even so it was still pretty painful. “I had everything lined up for me, but it was still hard. It does hit home that you’re not in that environment anymore. The last day I went to the club, shoved all my kit into a binbag and walked out of the club and that was it. There was no tunnel, no fanfare and you never go back. I don’t think anything can prepare you for when you hand back the boots and the kit and the car keys.”

David Kerr probably hasn’t handed back his boots – but it might feel as if he had done.

The podcast is available on platforms including Spotify, Apple, Amazon Music and Podbean

Writing Off the Office? Not Yet, says Knight Frank

James Tait, Head of Birmingham office with Browne Jacobson’s Managing Partner Richard Medd outside the Colmore Building

Amidst all the talk about hybrid working and moving into a world where lawyers are doing over half of their work from home there is still a mighty appetite for high class office accommodation according to the latest report from real estate advisor Knight Frank.

The firm’s Law Firm Report reveals that in Central London the take-up of office space by law firms in 2021 represented a 51% rise on 2020 and an 85% rise on 2019, before the pandemic began. Astonishingly law firms made up 27% of all space taken in the City of London in 2021 and represented around 12% of take-up in Central London. “The level of take-up was the highest for the sector in the last five years and the trend is set to continue,said Knight Frank.

Leading the way in this expansion last year were Latham & Watkins’ pre-let at 1 Leadenhall, Allen & Overy’s pre-let at 1 & 2 Broadgate, and Travers Smith pre-let at Stonecutter Court. Strikingly in London, US law firms accounted for 42% of all take-up in 2021.

The same trend for what is described as ‘sustainable, amenity-rich offices’ extended into the major regional centres around the UK. In Leeds, for example, law firm take-up amounted to 100,743 sq ft, a 202% rise on 2020, while take-up in Greater Manchester was up 82% to 61,684 sq ft.

One of the high points of regional expansion is DLA Piper’s pre-let at City Square House, ‘a new highly sustainable building close to Leeds City Station, will offer better amenities and will be designed to support the wellbeing and productivity of employees’. Meanwhile Browne Jacobson is relocating its Birmingham office to 103 Colmore Row, the city’s latest flagship office development where it has has signed a ten-year lease for 12,146sq ft on the 15th floor of this iconic building.

“Law firms remain committed to the office, recognising its role in supporting, facilitating, and portraying business strategy,” says Jennifer Townsend, Partner, Occupier Research at Knight Frank. “Law firms cited difficulties in training and developing junior lawyers, building cultural ties, and developing deeper client relationships in a fully remote working environment. However, law firms are also reimagining the office. Looking at the drivers of leasing transactions in 2021, there were common themes of sustainability, health and wellbeing, and the flight to quality, with occupiers investing in amenity-rich, highly connected spaces. Law firms are creating workplaces with new ways of working in mind, centred around collaboration, innovation, client-centricity and learning and development.”

So there you have it. Covid raised fundamental questions about office life and how we work. Law firms are now sorting out the fruitful from the fanciful in how to take forward this extraordinary transformation.

LEGAL COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

 TOPIC: Issues arising from the Family Court Statistics Quarterly: October to December 2021

 COMMENT BY: Louise Minifie, Senior Associate in the Family team at Thomas Mansfield

The Ministry of Justice have released the Family Court statistics for October to December 2021. There has continued to be an improvement in the average time from petition to decree nisi, down 5 weeks, and decree absolute by 2 weeks. With the introduction of no-fault divorce on 6 April 2022, this should fall even further, to 20 weeks from the date of petition to decree nisi and 26 weeks to decree absolute.

There has been a reduction in the number of divorce petitions issued at the end of 2021. This figure is likely to go up drastically in the coming months as, from my experience, clients are waiting until 6 April so they do not have to blame each other for the breakdown of the marriage.

Unfortunately, the Court continues experiencing the impact of the pandemic in long delays in concluding financial remedy applications. That is why the Judiciary are introducing measures to encourage more efficient conduct in financial remedy proceedings, as well as continuing to promote mediation, arbitration, or private hearings as an alternative to Court proceedings.

Comment by: Hannah Gumbrill-Ward, Solicitor in the Family practice at Winckworth Sherwood

“Across 2021 as a whole, financial remedy applications were up 22% from 2020. This fits with our experience of a nervousness around financial matters in 2020 due to the uncertainty we were all facing. As people adjusted to the new normal through 2021, this nervousness wore off and clients ceased to want to delay dealing with their financial matters indefinitely which is reflected in the statistics.

“What is clear from the statistics is that the pandemic is still having a profound effect on the courts ability to deal with matters promptly, and across the year, it took 41 weeks on average for private law children matters to reach a final order, compared with 32 weeks in 2020. While this data is not yet available for financial remedy cases, anecdotally speaking, we are experiencing extreme delays with listing matters and more last-minute cancellations than ever. Although the courts are trying hard to find solutions to their capacity issues, increasing numbers of clients are taking their proceedings out of the system and opting for private resolutions in order to avoid these extreme delays.”

TOPIC: The Significance of ‘No Fault’ Divorce

COMMENT FROM: Liz Trinder, University of Exeter

Making couples find fault to get a divorce caused unnecessary conflict and needless pain. It was an empty legal ritual which particularly had a negative impact on children. This reform means people no longer have to “game” the system by making false allegations to secure a quicker divorce. It won’t make divorce easier or undermine marriage. This change means the process will be less traumatic for families and there will no longer be needless acrimony and game-playing.

“People take marriage very seriously, with the decision to split up being painful, difficult and usually very protracted. This legislation is a technical change to how to show evidence when a marriage has irretrievably broken down and will mean the law better reflects the reality of divorce. The current process involves an often painful, and sometimes destructive, legal ritual involving fault that has no obvious benefits for the couple and their families, or society. 

 It is possible the reform will produce a temporary spike in divorce as those currently waiting out a two- and five-year separation period bring their legal divorce forward. The likelihood is that the divorce rate will then revert to normal, just as happened in Scotland following reforms in 2006.”

TOPIC: Judicial Appointments

COMMENT BY: Caroline Jepson, President of CILEX

CILEX welcomes the Judicial Appointments Commission’s revised approach to statutory consultation as a positive step toward formalising, and making more transparent, this particular aspect of the judicial selection process. We are pleased to see that the Judicial Appointments Commission will be reviewing how the revised approach affects applications for judicial roles from those from non-traditional backgrounds, as one of CILEX’s concerns about statutory consultation is how its confidentiality could provide opportunities for discrimination. This must not be allowed to occur if the judiciary is to become more diverse. With its diverse membership, CILEX is a ready-made solution to the future of judicial diversity and will engage positively with this and all other such initiatives for the public good.”

LAW FIRM MANAGEMENT: INSIGHTS OF THE WEEK

TOPIC: ‘Compliance’ is crucial for the paralegal sector

COMMENT FROM: Jane Robson, Director of compliance and regulation at National Association of Legal Practitioners

Ever since the introduction of the Legal Services Act 2007, regulators of the more conventional arms of the legal services sector (the Bar Standards Board, the SRA, CILEx, etc.) have started listening to the general public, using tools such as surveys, and have updated their regulations to take account of the main concerns, such as having transparent fee information, clear client contracts and a robust and accessible complaints systems.

Meanwhile, the fastest growing arm of the sector – paralegals – have been staking their claims as practitioners in their own right, not just as the assistants of solicitors.

Whilst the increase in professional paralegal practitioners has been welcomed, particularly since the near eradication of legal aid provision in England and Wales since 2013, there has also been an increase in unregulated and, in some cases, unethical, legal services providers setting up shop, who are targeting potentially naïve and susceptible members of the public who are desperate for assistance with their legal matters but cannot afford the cost of the more traditional providers.

So, this makes it all the more important for qualified paralegals with experience, who conduct themselves professionally, to raise themselves above these rogues. This can be achieved by making sure they are 100% transparent and that their methods and practices are in line with a regulated provider.

By taking out membership with a voluntary regulator, they can demonstrate that they are willingly following a prescriptive set of regulations, behaviours and principles. We go further still and expect our members offering direct to client services to hold a ‘Licence to Practice’ and have specialised insurance. This demonstrates that the paralegal stands up to inspection and the client who hires them knows that, should there be any issue with that practitioner, there are means of holding them accountable.

Thus, through compliance, the paralegal practitioner is giving confidence to consumers of legal services that, not only can they receive access to justice at a reasonable cost, they can do so with full confidence that the practitioner they hire is responsible and, most importantly, accountable.

TOPIC: Work-life balance in law firms – Minding the generational gap

COMMENT FROM: Nathan Peart, Managing Director, Associate Practice Group, Major, Lindsey & Africa

As firms make their return to work, the term ‘work-life balance’ has probably never been parroted more than in the last year, but how can it be fulfilled when the meaning is different for each generation?

Differing attitudes about the future of work across generations are stark in a highly pressurised environment such as a law firm. The crux of the issue comes down to perceptions of what work-life balance is. For ‘boomers’, stability of work and face-time is highly valued because of the experience of their parents working in the difficult post-war years, while for Gen-X there is still an expectation that flexibility has to be earned. Millennials want flexibility about where and when they work. Meanwhile for Gen-Z, who are just starting their careers, there is an expectation that the workplace should be mobile to work around them.

With a talent war raging, the incoming Gen-Z may come to expect wellness packages and extra perks. Gen-X, who are used to seeing flexible working as an earned privilege, may revel in the extra time spent at home with their families, but miss the opportunity to mentor and develop junior colleagues.

Ultimately, as we come to realise that the ‘balance’ part of work means something different to everyone, firms will have to navigate flexible working with care and great attention. The hybrid working model should offer everyone the chance to win in some way, and will go some distance in closing these generational divides that were prominent pre-pandemic.

TOPIC: ADDRESSING THE MENAPAUSE TABOO IN LAW FIRMS

COMMENT FROM: Robbie Weston, Executive Director, Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing

Menopause remains a taboo subject for many law firms. But as more women talk openly about their own experiences, there is a definite movement to normalise the subject.

Put simply, a lack of support for women experiencing the menopause could result in a loss of female talent and experience. A Law Society report highlights that the number of women aged between 36-40 years who hold a practising certificate reduces by 57% when compared with the number of women aged between 51-55 years with a practising certificate. The corresponding reduction for men is only 18%. The report doesn’t reveal the cause of their departure, but it is not unreasonable to draw a conclusion between more women leaving and the menopause.

Though menopause is a natural part of life, it can have various impacts that often start months or years beforehand and last up to four years from its onset and have a variety of repercussions ranging from mental health issues to problems with memory and concentration. Its symptoms, such as hot flushes, can cause embarrassment or leave women feeling less confident. One report found that, as a result, women who are going through the menopause between the ages of 50 and 55 take an average of two months off work because of their symptoms, while while women who experience early menopause (before they reach 45) take four months off.

For employers, this can mean significant increases in sickness absence rates. For individuals affected, it can mean they miss out on £10,000 – £20,000 in earnings and pension contributions.1

With women now comprising over 60% of new entrants to the legal profession, it’s important for firms to normalise discussions around menopause and offer support. Making adjustments to the working environment can improve health and lessen some menopause symptoms. So putting policies in place to support changing needs during different life stages, and specific support around menopause, can have a powerful impact. Managers may also need support to meet individual employee needs.

Talking openly, positively and respectfully about the menopause can show commitment to employees that the firm has menopause on its agenda so that those experiencing the menopause feel comfortable asking for help to manage their symptoms.

POST-SCRIPT: The effect of the menopause on lawyers’ clients

Meanwhile, a recent nationwide survey[1] by the Family Law Menopause Project has revealed that 81% of family lawyers are failing to understand or recognise the impact of menopause and perimenopause during divorce and separation. The survey of family law professionals and the judiciary also found that 65% of respondents agreed that women are potentially disadvantaged in terms of financial settlements by a lack of understanding within family law to recognise or think about the impact menopause and perimenopause might be having on the ability of their female clients to work full-time or even part-time.

The data supports one of the key aims of the Family Law Menopause Project which is to raise awareness amongst the family law community of the impact of menopause so that family lawyers can ensure that their advice leads to the fairest financial outcome for female clients as they approach retirement. It is suggested that the impact of menopause on women’s ability to work is not taken into account when financial settlements are drawn up. “While symptoms will vary, 1 in 4 women will experience severe debilitating symptoms while over 60% of women will experience symptoms resulting in behavioural changes,” says the Project.

APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK  

Cross-border (England/Scotland) firm Shakespeare Martineau  has appointed dual-qualified Nicky Grant as a legal director to its commercial real estate team in Edinburgh.

Nicky Grant

Formerly with Raeburn Christie Clark & Wallace and then Dickson Minto, Grant completed his property-focused traineeship in Aberdeen and obtained dual qualification in 2018. His experience covers all areas of commercial property, including acting on utilities and energy projects, corporate assist work, and working on behalf of healthcare providers and real estate finance.

“As businesses increasingly expand their operations across the UK, we are frequently asked to advise our clients on Scottish and cross-border transactions,” said Amal Kaur, partner at Shakespeare Martineau (Glasgow) LLP, “We continue to provide tailored Scots law services to our clients and are investing internally in quality training to expand our resources.”

Grant’s appointment comes after Shakespeare Martineau announced it is set to take on its first ever Scottish trainees.

Ropes & Gray has appointed Alexandra Chauvin as counsel based in its asset management team in London which represents both sponsors and investors across a diverse range of private fund formation work.

Alexandra Chauvin

Formerly with Kirkland & Ellis, Chauvin advises on the structuring, negotiation and documentation of complex transactions in the secondary market, including structured and synthetic secondaries, traditional portfolio sales, stapled offerings and recapitalisations.

 “We are continuing to see a growing demand for our private funds work, across both the US and Europe, so I’m delighted that Alex is joining us,” said Bryan Chegwidden, global head of the firm’s asset management group. “Her experience and expertise as a focused secondaries lawyer will be an invaluable addition to our investment funds team and will further strengthen our transatlantic offering, as we respond to client demand.”

EVENTS

PINSENT MASONS Can you imagine a gender equal world?

At Pinsent Masons we are working hard to overcome the barriers to female progression, and we are building a workplace where women thrive. Women’s equality can be attained if we work together to achieve a world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. International Women’s Day was recently celebrated on 8 March 2022, but at Pinsent Masons we are still celebrating diversity and inclusivity by canvassing the best advice women across the business have received to help them navigate their career to date and discussing the positive steps we can all take toward a more diverse and inclusive workplace and community. 

We will discuss the topic of promoting change through addressing bias across the technology, science and innovation industries in a panel discussion on 7 April 2022, where we will be joined by distinguished female industry leaders who will discuss how we can accelerate women’s equality across traditionally male dominant industries.

We would be delighted if you could join us at our panel event. Show your solidarity and call out bias in our discussion on 7 April 2022. 

We look forward to seeing you there! 

#BreakTheBias  #IWD2022
 
Women in Technology, Science and Innovation and Breaking the Bias
07 April 202218:00 – 20:15 GMT
Pinsent Masons, 30 Crown Place, London, EC2A 4ES 
  Accept 
For further information please contact:
Holly Taylor Events Executive+44 (0) 207 418 8238 holly.taylor@pinsentmasons.com

We hope that you have enjoyed this edition of the LEGAL DIARY – we have now crossed the boundary into our centenary (having overlooked the first four editions in our previous counting!).

If so, do please relay on to friends and colleagues and also continue sending your Diary stories, insights and comment to

fennell.edward@yahoo.com

Edward Fennell’s LEGAL DIARY

Friday 25 March 2022 Edition 97

Diary news, commentary, insights, appointments and arts from the legal world

‘If this is a Smart Motorway what does a dumb one look like?’ Image courtesy of RAC

SHORT THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK – DRIVING ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE LEGAL ROAD?

Quite rightly the war in Ukraine dominates the news agenda and will continue to do so for many weeks to come.

But behind the scenes other, more ordinary, life goes on. Take what is happening on our roads. In this week’s Legal Diary we feature the way developments in technology are changing our transport system in terms of Smart Motorways, self-driving cars and the EV-Charging infrastructure.

The worry is that – over-shadowed by Ukraine and as with Covid – everything else gets forgotten about. But the law must not be allowed to lag behind. Lives are at risk here as well.

The LegalDiarist

IN THIS WEEK’S EDITION

LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

– Collegial support from the Bar to Ukraine

– Ukraine a Game-Changer on Human Rights Act Debate

– Baby You can Drive My Car (Except on a not-so Smart Motorway)

– GSC Marks 50 Not Out

– Legal help for those with Special Educational Needs

LEGAL COMMENTS OF THE WEEK on the Chancellor’s Spring Statement, the Dubai ‘Princess Haya case’, the on-going’ Whiplash’ consultation, EV infrastructure and the long-awaited arrival of ‘No fault’ divorce

LEGAL APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK at Morrison & Foerster and Dechert

LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

Collegial Support from the Bar to Ukraine

“There’ll be a blue sky over….” Image courtesy of ABA

As and when the courts system resumes in Ukraine it will be able to enjoy a new, closer relationship with barristers in England and Wales. This follows the announcement by the Bar Council of a project to ‘foster dialogue, solidarity and support between barristers in England and Wales and Ukrainian lawyers.’

A key part of the project will encourage Chambers to identify projects and work opportunities for Ukrainian lawyers who have either decided to stay in Ukraine or who have fled to other countries. There will also be support for ‘sister organisations’ including the two Bar associations in Ukraine and those in other Eastern European countries who are close to the ‘front line’ with Russia. Also included will be a ‘supportive dialogue’ between the Young Bar in England and Wales and its counterparts in Ukraine.

Of more immediate significance, however, will be the gathering of names of barristers and judges in England and Wales who want to sponsor Ukrainian lawyers to come to the UK and, where possible, match them with Ukrainian colleagues through the Bar Council’s partnership with the Ukrainian National Bar Association.

The Bar Council points out that it has already received names of Ukrainian lawyers and their families who want to come to the UK, and has been contacted by barristers and judges in England and Wales wanting to sponsor Ukrainian lawyers.

Ukraine a Game-Changer on HRA Debate

‘You’ve Come to the Rights Place’ Image Courtesy of Council of Europe

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has added another dimension to the debate around the Government’s proposal to repeal the Human Rights Act, according to researchers at the University of Exeter Law School who claim that he plan to replace the Act with a ‘British Bill of Rights’ would “fatally undermine” protection of rights under the European Convention on Human Rights in domestic law.

This would “wind the constitutional clock back to the 1990s” says the Exeter academics and the result would be that people would then have to bring claims to the European Court of Human Rights in order to vindicate their rights. “Any weakening of human rights could be seized upon by those countries with poorer records as justification for their own egregious denial of human rights,” say Exeter’s David Barrett, Richard Edwards and Natalie Sedacca. “It would send all the wrong signals at a time that the UK must be seen as vigorously defending human rights and the European Convention on Human Rights.”

In defending the current legislation the Exeter lawyers say that the Human Rights Act has blended justice with British constitutional traditions and principles, and has “has had a largely positive influence and impact”.

“Our judges now talk the language of Convention rights and make a significant and positive contribution to the development of European human rights,” said Richard Edwards. “The HRA has promoted a judicial dialogue between British judges and the Strasbourg court. It provides an elegant mechanism for the reconciliation of the tension between the constitutional principles of the rule of law and parliamentary supremacy.”

Consequently the repeal of the HRA and its replacement with the proposed provisions in the form of a ‘Bill of Rights’ would reverse this development.

Baby You can Drive My Car (Except on a not-so Smart Motorway)

For anyone – including the LegalDiarist – who has to drive regularly along Smart Motorways such as the M3 which boast no hard shoulders the recent research findings from lawyers at accident claims lawyers Bolt Burdon Kemp will not come as too much of a surprise.

According to BBK dozens of fatalities could occur on the UK’s roads if the right checks and legal frameworks are not quickly put in place – not least because self-driving cars are being made legal this Spring. 

The starting point is that recent so-called Smart innovations have created a right legal mess. For example, the removal of the hard shoulder means that motorists could quite easily find themselves stranded in the middle of upcoming traffic – with potentially fatal consequences. As a result, Highways England could be reported to the police for criminal manslaughter. “By removing the hard shoulder on smart motorways, the government effectively declared that smart motorways are faultless, and able to quickly and reliably detect if motorists are stranded on the road,” points out the firm.

The problem is that this sounds suspiciously similar to the Post Office scandal in which it was declared that the Fujitsu HORIZON accounting system could not possibly go wrong. ‘The computer does not make mistakes’ was the official line. As we now know, it did – horrendously.

Similarly  the Automated Lane-Keeping System (ALKS) which was introduced for cars could create grey area for legal liability.  No wonder then that motorists’ concerns about  motorway safety increased by 50% from 2020 to 2021.

Legal regulations need to evolve fast, says BBK. “It is crucial that changes are made to the Highway Code before self-driving cars are made legal,” they say.

For the full report go to:  https://www.boltburdonkemp.co.uk/our-insights/posts/smart-motorways-where-are-we-now/?

GSC Marks 50 Not Out

GSC Solicitors in training for the London Legal Walk

A quick ‘Happy Birthday’ to City firm GSC Solicitors LLP which is celebrating it’s 50th year in business. In an era of ever-increasing size it’s great to a firm which doesn’t succumb to giantism but sticks to its identity with 12 partners and 43 staff and continues to thrive with a carefully curated collection of high class clients.

In GSC’s case that includes household names such as Universal Music, Channel 4, EMI, Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL), The Performing Rights Society (PRS) and Gratte Brothers Group, plus a number of high performance businesses and individual private clients. 

Originally founded as Green David Conway & Co the title changed to GSC with the arrival of the current Senior Partner, Saleem Sheikh .  “Our founders knew that people do not fit into neat boxes and so neither does our approach to the law,” says Sheikh. “Just as they were 50 years ago, our clients are innovators and thought leaders, entrepreneurs and international business leaders. They may be just starting out or they are significant family businesses or global brands.”

A timely reminder then that you don’t have to have offices across every continent – or even Russia – to be a success.

Legal Advice on Special Education Needs Now Available On-line

A grant of £10,000 has been made by theWorshipful Company of Information Technologists (WCIT) to the charity Support SEND (for children with Special Education Needs and Disabilities) to help parents ‘manage the endless flow of tasks involved in accessing their children’s human right to an education’.

Having a better understanding of the law and legal processes is a key part of this process and the Support SEND ‘Kids hub’ is a place for parents to access advice from SEND law experts, SEND professionals and other parents who have direct experience of navigating a complex legal process.

“By making legal insights around every stage of the Education Health Care Plans (ECHP) application process freely available, Support SEND Kids hopes to help schools, parents and local authorities ensure that every SEND child is able to claim their right to learn, develop and fulfil their potential,” says the organisation.

The news follows the launch by Support SEND Kids of an on-line version of the ‘Noddy Guide’, a no-nonsense guide to SEN law reimagined by the authors David Wolfe QC and Leon Glenister in accessible Q&A format. This aims to both make the law accessible and to use an interactive Q&A format to highlight inconsistencies and emerging issues in SEN law with which the SEND community can engage. “The EHCP process by design lacks transparency and is overly bureaucratic, with the result a fragmented and inconsistent application of the same law running across over every local authority in England,” said Janvi Patel, co-founder of Support SEND Kids, “Helping parents to manage the anxiety generated by this complexity and giving them more piece of mind and time to spend on things other than list building is key to what we are trying to achieve.” 

To support the launch a short film has been released featuring barristers discussing what they see happening to SEND law. For more go to:

https://talk.supportsendkids.org:449/player/0a4e89c2-f76f-4788-84c4-cf7b183cc10b

or email contact@supportsendkids.org

LEGAL COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

TOPIC: The Chancellor’s Spring Statement announcement.

The Chancellor: has he done right by you?

COMMENT BY: Stephanie Hall, Partner, Davitt Jones Bould

With the controversial Planning White Paper seemingly dropped earlier this month, and the cost-of-living crisis high on the political agenda, it is perhaps not surprising that the Spring Statement is short on planning content. It feels very much that we must wait for further announcements, such as the Energy Security Strategy next week and the Levelling Up Bill later this year, to understand the Government’s vision for the next chapter of the planning system.

With the nationwide net zero carbon target drawing ever-closer, coupled with rising energy prices amidst uncertainty of supply, next week’s Energy Security Statement takes on even greater significance. Will Boris overrule certain Cabinet members and take a fresh look at onshore wind energy, which paragraph 158(b) of the NPPF effectively bars? Or would this be an unpopular move at a time when the PM is looking to restore confidence amongst the electorate in advance of key local elections?

Similarly, meaningful action is needed to bring levelling up to life. The Levelling Up White Paper published in February is a stark curtailment of the Government’s ambition to reform the planning system and it remains to be seen how the Government intends to increase the supply of housing and whether (another) new infrastructure levy is the best way to support new development.

It again appears to be the familiar refrain of “watch this space” – will the Government be brave and put aside short term political gains to make meaningful and lasting improvements to the planning system?

COMMENT BY: Elizabeth Small, Partner, Forsters

“A surprisingly upbeat Spring 2022 Statement with a much welcomed £3,000 increase in the NIC threshold. Advisers and businesses will be digesting the Tax Plan (published today) and looking forward to the Autumn Statement which promises improved R&D tax credits and capital expenditure initiatives.  Meanwhile, home owners were given a boost with a zero VAT rate for energy saving materials including solar panels.”

TOPIC: The finding by the High Court that the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, had domestically abused Princess Haya and its ruling that he should have no substantive influence over their children’s upbringing.

The couple pictured in ‘happier times’ – possibly. Image Courtesy of BBC

COMMENT BY: Deborah Jeff, Head of the Family Law department, Simkins LLP.

This judgment is a reminder of the wide implications of domestic abuse and coercive/controlling behaviour. The court now recognises the lasting impact, not just on the partner who experiences it, but on children and their wellbeing.”

“The court has taken the bold but undoubtedly correct step of ensuring an abusive parent cannot make decisions with their mother regarding what is in the best interests of their children – the right outcome after many years of abuse, giving the family time to heal and minimise the ongoing impact of their father’s historical behaviour.”

“It’s encouraging to now see the courts recognising the coercive/controlling element which for many years was so difficult to have taken seriously in our courts.”

TOPIC: The government’s response to ‘Part 2’ of the Whiplash consultation

When is this pain in the neck going to stop?

COMMENT BY: Qamar Anwar, Managing Director of First4Lawyers

While this response has been a long time coming, we welcome the fact that the government has finally seen sense and decided against further reform.

It would be madness to force any more change upon a sector still dealing with the fallout from the Official Injury Claims portal, which has been blighted by problems since its launch in May. While the government’s intention was to eliminate the need for lawyers, data shows it has had quite the opposite effect with around 90% of people still seeking legal assistance before bringing a claim.

The reports hints that more reforms could be further down the track. However, the MoJ should focus on fixing a broken system before it attempts any more ill-advised changes and given past failures should commit to meaningful consultation with the industry before it does.”

TOPIC: The legal implications of rapidly expanding the charging infrastructure for electric cars.

It’s on my wish-list for Father Christmas

COMMENT BY: Richard Gordon-Brown, Partner, UK and European Patent Attorney and Design Attorney at the intellectual property law firm EIP.

This will be a boost for those developing the technology that underpins the EV charging ecosystem, whether that be EV manufacturers and their suppliers, energy companies, or other specialist businesses.  Removing barriers to greater take-up of EVs will increase the market for their products.  This will give them confidence to invest further in R&D to create new innovations from which consumers will also benefit, such as faster ways to charge vehicles.  In addition to potentially seeing more sales of their own equipment, patenting their innovations could open up opportunities to license out their technology to others wishing to implement it in return for licence fees.  This could lead to healthy revenue streams for some, particularly if any such patented innovations become standardised across the market.”

COMMENT BY:Aidan McClean, co-founder and CEO of UFODRIVE and author of  ELECTRIC REVOLUTION.

The UK Government’s new Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy, with the promise of a tenfold expansion in EV chargepoints by 2030, is highly welcome yet frustratingly light on details.

The announcement of the Strategy has not come a moment too soon – for both the EV market and Britain’s efforts in battling climate change. When the Government acts decisively, it not only gives consumers the confidence to continue buying EVs, but also gives the private sector the impetus to invest, build and contribute towards this future.

This is a great start, but more will be needed – and it is nothing without telling the truth about Electric Vehicles; how vital they are for tackling climate change, and how practical and realistic they can be given the right infrastructure and environment. We hope to see the Government lead with this message.

TOPIC: The arrival of ‘No Fault’ Divorce on April 6 the biggest reform to Divorce Law in 50 years.

COMMENT BY: Joanne Edwards, Head of Family and Partner at Forsters

“This long-awaited reform is to be embraced whole-heartedly. It is not about making divorce easy and marriage disposable, as opponents have cautioned; it is about making it kinder for the 100,000 or so couples who divorce each year and, arguably more importantly, the 225,000 or so children of those couples.  For too long, starting the divorce process with discussions about who was to “blame” for the end of the marriage has been a source of discord and made resolving more important things (like arrangements for the children and money) very much more difficult.  

Whilst, in isolation, these changes to divorce law are important, they will only have stronger potency if coupled with (a) reform of the law around how money is divided on divorce, including a legislative framework for pre-nups and (b) proper public funding for financially vulnerable individuals to take some initial legal advice and be appropriately signposted as to their “rights”.

There are other factors that make a move to no fault divorce timely this Spring. One of them is the fact that since the legal aid cuts in 2013, many people in family proceedings represent themselves.

With the onset of the pandemic, backlogs in the family court have reached record levels and the system is struggling to cope.  It is difficult for an unrepresented person drafting a divorce petition to know they don’t have to go to town with their behaviour particulars, or an unrepresented Respondent to know they won’t likely be adversely affected if they don’t defend the petition, often leading to contested court proceedings about the divorce.  All of that will fall away. The move to online divorce lends itself to a simplified process.”

LEGAL APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK

  Marie-Claire Strawbridge has joined Morrison & Foerster as a partner in its Antitrust Law/Competition and National Security practices. She was previously at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer where she had extensive experience of UK and EU competition law.

Marie-Claire Strawbridge

“Marie-Claire is a terrific addition to the London office,” said Paul Friedman, Morrison & Foerster’s managing partner for Europe. “Adding a dedicated CMA-focused competition and FDI practice is key in a post-Brexit context, and essential to our burgeoning M&A practice. The emerging UK regulatory approaches around competition enforcement and the new UK-specific FDI regime introduced by the National Security and Investment Act mean Marie-Claire’s experience will greatly benefit our clients.”

Strawbridge graduated in Law and French from the University of Glasgow and holds a Master’s in European Legal Studies from the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium. She is qualified in England & Wales and registered with the Brussels bar.

Judith Seddon is joining Dechert LLP as a partner in the ‘white collar’ practice of its London office. Formerly with Ropes & Gray and Clifford Chance Ms. Seddon graduated from King’s College, London, with First-Class Honours and subsequently received an LL. M. from Yale followed by a Bachelor of Civil Law from New College, Oxford.

Judith Seddon

 She is now recognised as one of the UK’s leading white collar practitioners, and has represented corporate clients, financial institutions and individuals in some of the most significant and complex SFO and FCA investigations in the UK, and by prosecuting authorities around the world. .

 “Judith is one of the biggest, most respected names in the European investigations market, and we are delighted she is joining us,” London-based white collar partner Roger Burlingame. “Her experience further deepens our already unmatched transatlantic capability, and her expertise advising financial institutions, corporations and individuals cements our spot in the UK’s white collar elite.”

E-VENTS

Policy Exchange invites you to a panel discussion 

 The Future of Capitalism:
To Whom are Companies Responsible?

Tuesday 29th March
 
17:30 – Event start
18.30 – Event close

with
Dame Sharon White Chair of the John Lewis Partnership

Sir Donald Brydon Former Chairman of the Sage Group,
the London Stock Exchange Group, the Royal Mail and
the Smiths Group


Professor Colin Mayer CBE Emeritus Professor, Said Business School,
University of Oxford 


Chaired by Sir Geoffrey Owen
Head of Industrial Policy at Policy Exchange,
former Editor of the Financial Times
and author of the recent Policy Exchange paper
The case for shareholder-based capitalism
Webinar Registration

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Edward Fennell’s LEGAL DIARY

Friday 18 March 2022 Edition 96

Diary news, commentary, insights, appointments and arts from the legal world

SHORT THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK – KNOW WHO YOUR (BEST) FRIENDS ARE?

Gone Away, Address Unknown

The wily Slaughter and May, ever able to go its own way, has not had to pull out of Moscow. Unlike almost every other top US/UK law firm it never had an office there. Instead it is maintaining its well-established ‘Best Friends’ relationship with leading local firm Alrud – although the firm points out that it has ‘no active Russian clients’ and has no plans to take on any new ones.

This enigmatically neat position raises the question of just how far should Western lawyers now go in cutting off the Russians whether that be as clients, individuals or other law firms?

This is now attracting, quite rightly, a high level of debate given the huge variety of shading within the Russian business community.

Is a ‘no exceptions’ approach the only effective way to bring home to Russia its pariah status and thereby hasten the collapse of the Putin regime? Or does someone have to continue to hold the door open if only in anticipation of an end, ultimately, to the nightmare? As Mr Paul Channon commented in The Times this morning, “The Russian people have to know that we are on their side.”

The LegalDiarist

IN THIS WEEK’S EDITION

+ LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

Foiling Fraud More Effectively

The RAK Hack

Take Another Shot TW

Bignon De Keyser expands into UK

More Mentoring from Browne Jacobson

+ CONTRIBUTED ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

NOT SO ‘SUPER’ SUPERMARKETS WHEN IT COMES TO FAIR PAY says Nathaniel Barber

+ LEGAL COMMENT OF THE WEEK on the P&O Sackings, Online Safety Bill and Criminal Legal Aid

+APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK at Stephenson Harwood and DMH Stallard

+ E-VENTS

LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

Foiling Fraud More Effectively

LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

Foiling Fraud More Effectively

Does what it says in the ad – Image courtesy of Thirdfort

In a sign that the law business is now taking fraud seriously the Law Society has, this week, appointed consultancy Thirdfort as an ‘Affiliate Partner’ to help lawyers better meet their Know Your Client (KYC), Anti Money Laundering (AML) and Source-of-Funds (SoF) compliance requirements. The agreement means that Thirdfort and the Law Society will ‘co-create’ advice and guidance to help lawyers navigate growing fraud and money laundering risks.

Thirdfort’s risk engine offers a fast way of alerting professionals of risks with onboarding and allows them to begin transacting with new clients, whether individuals or corporates.  

The company has already attracted business from a number of mid- to large-sized law firms and conveyancers who do not have the capability to integrate multiple pieces of software and automate SoF checks (names mentioned include Penningtons Manches Cooper, Humphries Kirk and DAC Beachcroft). But this development with the Law Society means an extension of the offer to lawyers across the board.

“With spiralling payment scams, and money laundering now costing the UK economy £100bn annually, regulated professionals face an ever-growing risk and compliance burden,” comments Olly Thornton-Berry, co-founder and Managing Director at Thirdfort. “Manually tackling this burden is not only costly but the client experience suffers from transactions bogged down by paper, endless repetition and increased fraud risk. Our partnership with the Law Society enables us to work closely with the Society to enable its members and their clients to move fearlessly.”

As part of the partnership, Thirdfort is offering 50 free ID and Source-of-Funds checks to any Law Society member firms that sign up with Thirdfort. 

Member firms can sign up here.

The firm will also host a risk and compliance webinar on 27th April with the Law Society.

The RAK Hack

It’s Gone to Court

It’s ‘Back to RAK’ in the High Court again this week in the ongoing battle between American businessman Farhad Azima and the Ras Al Khamai Investment Authority (RAKIA) – also featuring as star defendants Dechert and its former partner Neil Gerrard, the well-known policeman-turned-lawyer.

It’s a complicated drama hinging on accusations of fraud stretching back many years in this small Emirate within the UAE. In the previous episode Farhad Azima had alleged in court that his computers had been hacked and sensitive data published on line. He lost that case but further evidence has now surfaced meaning that the hacking issue is now up for re-examination with both RAKIA and the additional defendants facing claims of being ‘jointly and severally liable for the hacking and related wrongs’.

There’s plenty of cloak and dagger stuff alleged including a planned meeting with an FBI agent in Dechert’s New York office and hiring a hacking agency ‘at a cost which indicates that the services were risky or very substantial.’ But maybe the stand-out, well-authenticated ‘You’re kidding me!’ allegation concerns a highly confidential mock-trial held at a secret Swiss location designed to prep various witnesses on what they should say in an English court – including, astonishingly, giving false testimony.

It seems that Neil Gerrard observed during this rehearsal that, “If they ever believe or prove that we are behind the hacking, then this thing is going to drag on for years.” In that, he was certainly correct. Meanwhile, what will interest the keen brief-spotter is that acting for RAKIA is Matrix Chambers’ Hugh Tomlinson QC, distinguished by his chairing of HACKED OFF but also note-worthy for his performance against journalist Catherine Belton (Author of Putin’s People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and Then Took On the West) on behalf of a certain Roman Abramovich. Whatever happened to him?

Not a Great Portrait

Speaking yesterday to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, the investigative writer Tom Burgis, author of Kleptopia: How Dirty Money is Conquering the World (an ECONOMIST Book of the Year in 2020 in which, as it happens, Neil Gerrard also appears), was frank about the threats he had received from Taylor Wessing, on behalf of the owners of Kazakhstani mining company ENRC.

Moreover, following the publication of the book, the ‘lawfare’ from Taylor Wessing apparently continued. Fans of the Taylor Wessing annual Photographic Portrait Prize held in conjunction with the National Portrait Gallery might start to view the firm through a different, more investigative lens. As Tim Eyles, former Managing Partner of the firm, commented in his introduction to the 2009 exhibition, “In today’s world it has never been more important for people to take stock of what matters most and to appreciate all that we have.” Well said.

Bignon De Keyser expands into UK

The ramifications of the Ukraine war for the European economy and for legal services are impossible to discern right now. Nonetheless Richard King, former Chief Legal Operations Officer at Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF), observes, “The pandemic and present market conditions are creating massive opportunities and substantial challenges for law firms and legal teams.”

Consequently many law firms are going to be looking for strategic advice on how to see their way through. That is why King has joined up as a partnerwith Bignon De Keyser, the Paris and Brussels-based legal services management consultancy. The aim is to draw on King’s former experience at Andersen Legal and EY Law as well as at HSF to extend Bignon De Keyser’s offer of management services and advice to the UK market.

Bignon De Keyser has drummed an impressive list of clients over the past seventeen years primarily made up of leading French and other continental European legal businesses. King’s major area of experience is in the management of international law firm networks and legal operations so there could be some interesting scope here for innovation as the larger firms are compelled to retrench.

More Mentoring from Browne Jacobson

Meet the Team

Browne Jacobson is rapidly proving itself to be the front runner in opening up opportunities in the law business to people from a wider range of backgrounds. Its latest move is the piloting of a new mentoring programme aimed at ‘kick-starting the careers of aspiring Black lawyers across the country’. The firm already has an established network of six educational and community organisations engaging with a predominantly Black student population via its REACH (Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage) Black Mentoring Scheme. But now, under its new programme, thirteen mentees drawn from the REACH group will be given six months of one-to-one mentoring with the option to extend for a further three months. There will also be the chance of a fortnight’s work experience in one of the firm’s five offices and access to a series of bespoke master-classes.

“The REACH Mentoring Scheme is just one of the programmes we are co-creating with our REACH community, to increase representation of Black talent at all levels across the firm,” said Bridget Tatham, partner at Browne Jacobson. “Ultimately we are not only looking to positively impact early careers, but also the aim is to improve the retention and promotion of Black lawyers across all areas of our business and the wider legal market.

CONTRIBUTED ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

NOT SO ‘SUPER’ SUPERMARKETS WHEN IT COMES TO FAIR PAY says Nathaniel Barber

Still looking for a ‘Two for One’ offer Image courtesy of the Co-op

‘Clap for Key Workers’ – remember that? Every Thursday people would come out onto their doorstep to pay tribute to those on the front line keeping the nation going.

Amongst those on the front line were supermarket workers on the shop floor. Beyond keeping the nation fed, these men and women had to deal with unprecedented panic buying, supply chain problems leading to bare shelves, and interacting with the general public while everyone else was avoiding contact with others.

However, their self-sacrifice has been ignored by their employers.

Shop floor workers have been underpaid for years. These – mostly female – workers are paid significantly less than their – mostly male – colleagues in distribution centres. Yet, the two roles are largely the same; there is no sensible reason why they shouldn’t be paid the same.

This analysis has been rejected by the supermarkets. The supermarkets have argued that store workers could not compare themselves to the distribution centre workers. These arguments have been roundly rejected: Tesco appealed to the European Court of Justice, and ASDA brought a similar appeal to the UK Supreme Court. Both were rejected.

Recently, it was announced that the Co-Operative would concede on the issue of comparability between its store and distribution centre workers, clearly recognising the uphill struggle faced by supermarkets. So, where next?

We are facing the worst squeeze on household expenses in a generation and yet supermarkets have announced record breaking profits for its shareholders. Considering that they have been rebuffed by the Courts, the supermarkets must now start paying these workers equal pay for equal work.

Nathaniel Barber is an Associate at Keller Lenkner UK

LEGAL COMMENT OF THE WEEK

TOPIC: The P&O Sackings

COMMENT BY: Barry Ross, Partner, Crossland Employment Solicitors

Everyone to walk the plank? Image courtesy of BBC

“The primary issue is how the dismissed P&O Ferries’ employees were employed. If they fall under the definition of seafarers, and are therefore governed by the Maritime Labour Convention, then they may fall outside of the scope of normal UK employment law and P&O Ferries has used a loophole to avoid having to comply with their normal obligations.

“If the normal UK employment law regime covers the staff of P&O Ferries, then there are significant ramifications for the actions taken in firing 800 staff with immediate effect over a zoom call.

“Irrespective of whether the actions of P&O Ferries were legal or not, they certainly fall under the category of just because you can, does not mean you should.”

“The backlash has been significant already and is only likely to escalate with people voting with their feet and refusing to use P&O Ferries’ services.”

TOPIC: The Publication of the Online Safety Bill and its requirements that social media sites and tech firms should prevent users from being exposed to harmful content. 


COMMENT BY: Emma Woolcott, Partner, Mishcon de Reya

“The Government’s ambitious plans to tackle online harms have taken a significant step forward with the publication of the Online Safety Bill due imminently. It is clear that careful attention has been paid to feedback from Parliament and wider society on a range of important issues such as anonymity, cyber flashing and revenge porn, hate crime and scam adverts.

“The Bill will need to be carefully scrutinised by Parliament to ensure that it protects victims of online harms, whilst also safeguarding freedom of expression. 

“Many commentators have focused on how the Bill will hold the ‘tech giants’ to account, but the established social media platforms and internet search engines have been preparing for this legislation for years. The challenge will come for the some 24,000 (or likely more) businesses caught by the new law, which will need to carry out risk assessments to avoid significant fines and potential criminal penalties.

“It appears a range of new criminal offenses have been added to the Bill, which could find senior managers at such companies criminally liable for destroying evidence, failing to attend or providing false information to Ofcom and/or obstructing the regulator when it enters the company’s offices.”

TOPIC: The Government’s response to the criminal legal aid review

COMMENT BY: Professor Chris Bones, Chair of CILEX

“CILEX welcomes the Government’s response to the criminal legal aid review: it rightly accepts the need to increase funding to ensure the immediate viability of legal aid and recognises that further reform should provide long term sustainability.

“CILEX professionals are essential to our justice system and the removal of the false barriers that prevent them from playing a full role in criminal legal aid is a huge step forward. Doing so will not only help to address current backlogs, but will also make an enormous difference to improving both the diversity and the sustainability of the sector.

“We also welcome the proposals in relation to the means test which will increase access to legal aid for millions more people and look forward to engaging in that separate consultation.’’

APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK

Jonathan Conder is joining Stephenson Harwood in its global private wealth practice. Formerly head of Macfarlanes’ private wealth practice for more than ten years until 2017, Conder has enjoyed a highly respected career in the firm’s private client group advising private clients, trustees, foundations, family offices and private banks on a wide range of matters.

“As part of the firm’s five year-strategy we have ambitious plans for growth in a number of key areas, including private wealth,” said Eifion Morris, chief executive officer of Stephenson Harwood. “Having been a partner since 1995 and head of private wealth at Macfarlanes for more than a decade, Jonathan’s extensive experience and standing will play a critical role in achieving those ambitions.”

Nicola Billen is joining DMH Stallard as partner in their dispute resolution team based in the firm’s Guildford office. She joins from Knights where she had a specialism in IT disputes.  Her recent work had included acting for a software company over a dispute regarding ownership of its IT platform and source code, a telecommunications company in relation to a dispute over a call-off contract and representing a large corporate in relation to a dispute over financial mechanisms in a share sale agreement.

Nicola Billen

“With our dispute resolution practice in Guildford thriving,” said Simon Elcock, Head of the firm’s Dispute Resolution practice. “Nichola is the perfect match to help us build on the dynamic growth we’re experiencing.”

  DMH Stallard recently announced a merger with Griffin Smith, its fifth merger in recent years.

E-VENTS

Why Law Firms Should be Empowering Teams

On Tuesday 5th April at 12:30pm Change Management Consultancy, Nine Feet Tall, will host a virtual panel event with top law firm leaders to answer these questions. The session will be discussion based, and the panel will feature Helen Hodgkinson, Chief People Officer at TLT, Emma Dowden, Chief Operating Officer at Burges Salmon, Izabel Grindal, Head of Governance & Change at DLA Piper & Tiggy Atkinson, Partner & Legal Sector Lead at Nine Feet Tall. The event will be called “Empowering Teams in Law Firms” and will address:

• The importance of purpose

• Shared values within teams – identifying the “say do” gap

• Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity

• Sustainability

• What does real engagement feel like?

• Accountability & autonomy – devolving decision making

• The power of connection and great communication

Speaking ahead of the event, Tiggy Atkinson said “It is more important than ever for teams to be empowered to share in the responsibility of helping to shape the direction their firms are taking. People want their places of work to help tackle bigger issues and to play a greater role in creating a more sustainable future for themselves and future generations. I am really looking forward to our discussions with our highly experienced panellists.”

The event will be free of charge and is taking place via Zoom, to book your place click here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/empowering-teams-in-law-firms-tickets-293061604147?utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ninefeettall.com%2F or contact RebeccaB@NineFeetTall.com or visit NineFeetTall.com.

Please keep sending your diary stories, insights and comments for the LEGAL DIARY to

fennell.edward@yahoo.com

And if you have found this edition interesting please circulate to friends and colleagues

Edward Fennell’s LEGAL DIARY

Friday 11 March 2022 Edition 95

Diary news, commentary, insights, appointments and arts from the legal world

SHORT THOUGHT: So what have we learned so far?

Nice to have on the client roster? Image courtesy of the BBC

Two weeks ago in this Short Thought slot we commented ‘Overnight the management of large international law firms …. has become decisively more difficult. The invasion of Ukraine by Putin’s armed forces has meant that almost any kind of business with Russian entities could become highly problematic.”

We now have a better understanding of what that means in practice. But it has also precipitated a lot of ethical debate about which kind of clients are legitimate and ‘where lines should be drawn’.

If they are honest with themselves many firms would admit that they have willingly turned a blind eye – maybe for specious reasons – to their clients’ conduct until the harsh light of exposure has made their positions untenable (or at least highly embarrassing).

Some legal media have suggested that this has demonstrated the vital importance of good PR. This may be true.

Even more so, maybe, it highlights the need for ‘moral literacy’ as the basis for acting in good faith. As journalist and writer Ben Judah comments, the sanctions against Russian oligarchs will ‘wean London’s lawyers off their addiction to Russian money.’ So is this a chance to clean up the act? Or just a period of Lent to undertake some temporary abstinence?

The LegalDiarist

p.s related to this topic see our very interesting article by Caroline Kean of Wiggin THE OLIGARCH ENIGMA: CAN BAD GUYS HAVE A GOOD CASE ? (Probably Not)

IN THIS WEEK’S EDITION

+ LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

The Legal Profession Today: What does it look like?

– We’re Levelling Up for Law Students, says Sidley

‘Ding-Dong the Bells are going to Chime?’ Not necessarily.

Property Litigation Association Appoints New President

CONTRIBUTED ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

THE OLIGARCH ENIGMA: CAN BAD GUYS HAVE A GOOD CASE? (Probably Not) By Caroline Kean, Wiggin

LEGAL QUOTE OF THE WEEK: EVERSHEDS SUTHERLAND on leaving Russia

LEGAL COMMENTARIES OF THE WEEK on the Covid Inquiry by Stephen Parkinson, (Kingsley Napley) and Ed Sheeran copyright claims by Howard Ricklow (Collyer Bristow) plus the GDPR case against TikTok by Caroline Harbord of Forsters

APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK at Roythornes and Irwin Mitchell

LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

The Legal Profession Today: What does it look like?

Now and Then – Image of pioneering Mary Sykes courtesy of Law Gazette

A photograph is worth 1000 words, so they say. and a snapshot can give insights deeper than a statistical analysis. So maybe that’s why The Next 100 Years, the successor project to the First 100 Years, is launching a competition to find 100 powerful group photos to capture an image of the legal profession today, ‘As it continues to strive for greater equality’.

The hook is the that 2022 is the centenary of the first four women being admitted to the Law Society as solicitors – Carrie Morrison, Maud Crofts, Mary Pickup and Mary Sykes. So, echoing that quartet, the Next 100 Years is now looking for images featuring groups of four, or more, legal professionals (by which is meant presumably solicitors, barristers, legal executives and paralegals).

“The photos should be compelling portraits of women and men working in the law that celebrate the power of togetherness and what can be achieved when we work collectively.” say the organisers and the context could be anywhere and doing anything. So not just four people – one standing – in a faux conversation about a technical point on a lease.

The winning images will form the basis of a 2023 calendar and an exhibition entitled The way we are: portraits of the legal profession today.

The competition opened yesterday and closes on 10 May with entries judged by a panel that includes the Lord Chief Justice, Baroness Hale, Vicky Fox, CEO of the Supreme Court and I. Stephanie Boyce, president of the Law Society. Marcus Jamieson-Pond is the creative director of the project, and also a judge. Winners will be announced in the autumn.

Entries should be sent to: awards@spark21.org

Levelling Up for Law Students, says Sidley

Another law firm put its cheque book where is mouth is  when Sidley Austin  announced this week that it is launching an undergraduate bursary scheme for low socio-economic background students to help them get a foot on the law career ladder.

The scheme, will provide £3,500 per academic year to five students from September 2022. In addition the participants will be eligible for work experience placements at the firm, including automatic entry to Sidley’s summer vacation scheme in their second year of study.

Applicants will be assessed using the ‘Rare Contextual Recruitment System to evaluate aptitude and potential,. This will be preferred over r final A-Level grades to ensure, the firm says, ‘an equitable review process’.

“We are confident that the opportunities offered to recipients alongside the financial aid will provide unparalleled insight into, and experience of, the work done at Sidley.,” said Jerry Gallagher the firm’s International HR & Diversity Director. “As well as the connections, confidence, and relationships they will build along the way, we hope to give students an intimate look at life within an international law firm and guidance on how they can shape their own legal career.”

Meanwhile Katy Webb, the firm’s Diversity & Corporate Responsibility Coordinator, commented, “The scheme recognizes the importance of financial as well non-financial support to develop the next generation of lawyers and has been designed with the hope of instilling confidence within recipients, whilst also arming them with the practical skills needed to pursue a successful career in the legal sector.”

Ding-Dong the Bells are going to Chime?’ Not necessarily.

“We thought we’d just invite ourselves” Image courtesy of Mar Hall

Getting married is one of the most intimate moments in someone’s life – and yet it is also one of the most public. That, maybe, is the point of it. It’s the private made public. And, of course, it also needs the state’s grubby hands over it in order to give it legal status with al that implies.

Trying to mesh all these different strands together is glycerins difficult in a society which is characterised by diversity whether that be of belief, ethnicity or culture. That’s why a new report from legal experts at the Universities of Warwick and Exeter under the auspices of the Nuffield Foundation suggest that the ‘current laws governing weddings are too outdated and restrictive and do not reflect the diversity of faith and beliefs in modern society.’ Consequently, the report goes on to say, each year many couples in England and Wales have a wedding ceremony which is meaningful to them but is not recognised by the law.

So what is the answer? Well the Law Commission has been looking at the issues for some time and the expectation is that its final report will appear in the Summer. It is in this context that the authors of this new report hope that its recommendations might be taken into account. Significantly nearly all of those who had a religious-only ceremony without a legal wedding were aware that it was not legally recognised. The majority of those who conducted these ceremonies took steps to ensure that couples were aware of the non-legally binding nature of the ceremony despite having no obligation to do so. As a result most of those who had such a ceremony also had a legal wedding. However, about a fifth had not yet done so, of whom most were Muslim couples who had entered into a nikah.

Ideally though, suggest the researchers, new wedding formats should be devised which can be given state recognition as well as reflect individual choice of style. “Our findings suggest that reform of weddings law is not only important but also achievable and is long overdue,” said the lead researcher, Dr Rajnaara Akhtar. “Our participants believed the Law Commission’s proposals for reform would make it easier, more inclusive, and cheaper for couples to have a legal wedding that was meaningful to them. In particular, removing the need for prescribed words was seen by participants as crucial in making weddings law more inclusive and enabling couples to consent to be married in a way that is in accordance with their beliefs.”

Presumably any wedding has to include a version of ‘I do’. But the question might be ‘I Do What?’

Property Litigation Association Appoints New President

Judge Elizabeth Cooke

Providing further reinforcements to the phalanx of women lawyers in top positions in the profession Judge Elizabeth Cooke has been appointed as the new President of the Property Litigation Association (PLA). Having already had a distinguished career as a Deputy High Court Judge and Principal Judge of the Land Registration Division of the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) Judge Cooke has been in the Lands Chamber of the Upper Tribunal since 2019. From 2008 to 2015 she was a Law Commissioner for England and Wales with responsibility for property law reform and leading projects on easements, rights to light, telecommunications law, and conservation covenants.

 “The Property Litigation Association plays a vital role in championing high standards in litigation practice and legal education, and in advocating effective law reform,” said Judge Cooke. “All are immensely important in the aftermath of the pandemic as the real property market recovers and professional relationships are re-examined and rebuilt. I am honoured to have the opportunity to support the PLA as its President and I look forward to working with its members.”

Judge Cooke succeeds Liz Peace CBE who steps down from the role after a five-year term.

CONTRIBUTED ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

THE OLIGARCH ENIGMA: CAN BAD GUYS HAVE A GOOD CASE? (Probably Not)

Caroline Kean – Doughty defender of the media

The role of lawyers acting on behalf of Russian oligarchs has come under close scrutiny – especially in cases of litigation. Here CAROLINE KEAN of WIGGIN, who has been involved recently in some of the most high profile cases on behalf of writers and journalists, reflects on the issues.

As Lord Pannick put it, everyone, including oligarchs, is entitled to legal representation. This is true not only of oligarchs but of all wealthy individuals, Russian or otherwise.

So why is there now such a furore about oligarchs and libel? It isn’t just the question of whether corrupt money is being used to pay notoriously high legal fees. It’s because more than in any other type of court action, claims in libel, privacy and increasingly data protection, which all concern abstract concepts, have a much wider effect than just on the two parties involved.

I see too many claims where the claimant’s solicitor – a specialist in a specialist field – must have advised their client that their claim is fundamentally flawed: they would be negligent if they didn’t and these lawyers are not fools. But the client disregards that advice and says ‘Go ahead’ anyway. The lawyer agrees. These include cases where it is inconceivable that the claimant could or ever would suffer serious harm to their reputation: the threshold for bringing a claim. They do it because it will have a chilling effect on other reporting.

Being entitled to legal representation doesn’t mean you have a right to use your financial muscle to bring bad claims for ulterior motives. Lawyers should have more pride than to be used as part of a client’s PR machine. Is it immoral to act for a claimant in those circumstances? Yes. It’s collusion in abuse of our laws and our courts. Just say no.

LEGAL QUOTE OF THE WEEK (for the record and representing the many law firms now leaving Russia).

EVERSHEDS SUTHERLAND

Further to the firm’s statement of 4 March 2022, Eversheds Sutherland has decided that it will no longer have a presence in Russia.

This decision has not been made lightly, and is not a reflection on our valued colleagues in those offices, but we will not continue to operate in Russia given its government’s invasion of Ukraine. Our priority now is to support our 50 colleagues in Russia and to work together to ensure an orderly transition of the business in compliance with our professional obligations.

As previously stated, our work has been centred on advising multinational clients on their affairs relating to or in Russia. We can confirm that we are not acting for the Russian government, Russian state-controlled entities and oligarchs, nor are we accepting any such mandates.”

[LegalDiarist Personal Note: The last mass exit of law firms from Moscow was in 1998 when the country defaulted on its debts and the rouble collapsed. “Clifford Chance was the major exception and was determined to remain and keep its office open. Keith Clark, the Senior Partner went to Moscow to settle nerves and he invited a representative from The Times (me) to accompany him. It was an extraordinary few days but there is a crooked line from then to now,” The LegalDiarist]

LEGAL COMMENTARIES OF THE WEEK

 TOPIC: The draft terms of reference  published by Baroness Hallett for the proposed Covid Inquiry

COMMENT BY: Stephen Parkinson, Senior Partner at law firm Kingsley Napley LLP

“The main purpose of this Inquiry must be to help us grapple with future crises of a similar nature. The objectives that Baroness Hallett has unveiled today require the Inquiry to examine lessons to be learned and I hope that that can be strengthened into a requirement to provide firm recommendations.  While I welcome the fact that the inquiry is being asked to provide a factual narrative of what occurred, I hope that it will not become too distracted by that task.  We don’t need a detailed history of what we already know – we want to know what can be done better in future. That includes how to manage better the impact on businesses and the impact on people’s personal lives from a crisis of this nature.

”“The danger of Public Inquiries is that they can sometimes be regarded as a talking shop with no clear or useful outcome. The Terms of Reference agreed at the outset are crucial to avoid that. We simply don’t have time for this Inquiry to take years and years, which is what would happen if it became an exercise in apportioning blame, and so I welcome the fact that this does not appear to be what is intended. Given this will be the most important Inquiry of our generation, it is imperative it serves a useful function and I am confident Baroness Hallett is taking the right approach.”

TOPIC: Ed Sheeran’s defence of his copyright claim regarding ‘Shape of You’

COMMENT BY: Howard Ricklow, Partner and media and entertainment lawyer, Collyer Bristow

“The allegations in the High Court suggest that while Sheeran is ready to acknowledge that he has ‘borrowed’ from other writers’ songs, he only does so when they are known writers and not where he considers them too small to worry about. He has apparently already given credits to the writers of No Scrubs in respect of the same song.

“It is important to stress that copyright infringement cases are determined not only on the basis that the two songs may be similar but whether the defendant to the claim has actually copied the original song.

“If the defendant has come up with the song quite independently of the claimant’s song, then there will be no copying. With rapid instant communication where singer songwriters can hear multitudinous tracks from all over it would be very difficult for Sheeran to say they had not heard the song that they are alleged to have infringed, which Sheeran did claim in an earlier infringement case involving the song Amazing.

“In the absence of evidence, certainly in the UK – the position is different in the US where there is a jury in such cases – the judge will be left to conclude on the balance of probability, whether Sheeran copied the song in question or composed his song independently.”

TOPIC: The GDPR case against TikTok

COMMENT BY: Caroline Harbord, Senior Associate, Forsters

“The representative claimant in the opt-out data protection group claim against TikTok lives to fight another day, as the High Court (arguably unexpectedly) grants permission for the claim form to be served out of the jurisdiction on the foreign defendants.

The judgment is significant because it represents a departure, albeit a very cautious one, from the Supreme Court’s controversial decision in Lloyd v Google. In Lloyd v Google, the Supreme Court held that a similar (but not identical) opt-out representative group claim for breach of data protection legislation did not constitute a serious issue to be tried, such that the claim fell at the first hurdle.

While the judge in the TikTok claim was non-specific about the factors that empowered him to distinguish the TikTok claim from Lloyd v Google, it is clear that he gave weight to the fact that the claim against TikTok relates to breaches of GDPR, whereas in Lloyd v Google the claim related to the older and now defunct DPA 1998 which made no express provision for recourse arising from non-material damage.

The judge is also likely to have given weight to the claimant’s submission that there is a higher degree of uniformity between the TikTok class members and their associated damages, given that all class members actively signed up to TikTok. By contrast, the claimant class in Lloyd v Google all had their data surreptitiously stolen and commercialised by Google without their knowledge. 

While the judgment undoubtedly provides a glimmer of hope for those who feared that all opt-out representative data protection group claims were  dead in the water following Lloyd v Google, it is very clear that the representative claimant in the TikTok claim will have a tough battle ahead. As the judge acknowledged, the service out application (which was heard ex-parte such that the Defendants were not afforded the opportunity to state their position) was in many ways a pre-cursor to the forthcoming summary judgment application already issued by the English Defendant. All eyes will now no doubt be on this summary judgment hearing, where the High Court will give much more detailed scrutiny to the submissions highlighted above, including the extent to which it is bound by the Supreme Court’s decision in Lloyd v Google. This will no doubt have implications for all live and future opt-out representative data protection group claims, including their ability to obtain litigation funding.”

APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK

Candy Stockton is joining the Will, Trust and Estate Disputes Team at Irwin Mitchell – the largest specialist national team in the UK – in the Gatwick office as a Partner. She was previously the head of contentious trust and probate in the dispute resolution department at TMW Solicitors.

Specialising in dispute resolution for both private and commercial clients, Stockton has had wide experience, including handling several high profile matters in the High Court and has completed the ACTAPS (Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists) qualification.

“As our first will dispute Partner in Gatwick, Candy will spearhead the growth of the department and our work in the wider London and southern offices,” said Paula Myers, Director of Private Client Legal Services at the firm. “Her broad experience of everything from High Court cases to mediation will be invaluable in our efforts to go the extra mile for our clients.”

Abdul Zaheed is joining the Birmingham office of Roythornes as a partner having had more than 18 years of experience as a qualified real estate solicitor.

Abdul Zaheed

“I was impressed with the firm’s substantial growth and Roythornes’ commitment to its real estate practice and Birmingham,” said Zaheed.”I have always been passionate about providing exceptional service to clients and adding real value to their goals so I’m looking forward to establishing and growing this at Roythornes.”

Roythornes operates across the Midlands and has offices in  Alconbury, Birmingham, Nottingham, Peterborough, and Spalding. Its Birmingham office will relocate from its current office to 1 Newhall Street in Spring 2022.

“This expansion furthers our commitment to Birmingham as a city, and to its dynamic real estate market,” said Vember Mortlock, the firm’s managing director, “This is an important area of growth for us and we’re looking forward to continuing our work across the West Midlands, serving both long-standing and new clients.”

E- VENTS

Register for this upcoming event!
View this email in your browser
Global Disability Cause LawyeringPerspectives from Leading Lawyers in the MovementMarch 24, 2022
10:00-11:30 am ET Virtual Event:

Register for Global Disability Cause Lawyering on Zoom here.  Adopted by the United Nations in 2006, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has inspired a new generation of lawyers to assist clients with disabilities seeking remedies for human rights violations before local, national, and international bodies.



While many of these lawyers narrowly advocate for their individual clients’ rights, others endeavor more strategically to bring cases that will advance systemic CRPD implementation for the broader disability community. Strategic litigation, or cause lawyering, to advance the human rights of various groups based on their identities (e.g., race), or on thematic issues cutting across populations (e.g., economic, social and cultural rights), has been extensively studied. However, the complex dynamics and considerations that inform disability-specific cause lawyers remain almost unexplored
This event will present a window into these dynamics by describing the efforts of litigants around the world to advance protections of persons with disabilities’ rights in international and local fora. Co-Sponsored by International Legal Studies.

NOTE: Live closed captioning in English and Spanish will be provided throughout the event. 

We hope – Putin willing – to be back next week so please continue to send your diary stories, legal insights and commentraries to

fennell.edward@yahoo.com

And please relay on this edition of the Legal Diary to friends and colleagues

Edward Fennell’s LEGAL DIARY

Friday 4 March 2022 Edition 94

Diary news, commentary, insights, appointments and arts from the legal world

SHORT THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: MORAL HAZARD IN TIME OF WAR

British commercial justice – Putin’ on the Style?

This morning Eversheds Sutherland announced that, “Through our internal processes and controls, we are alerted to any requests for advice from Russian entities which we intend to decline.”

Likewise when questioned on the BBC’s World at One yesterday former Supreme Court judge Lord Sumption said that in the circumstances of today he probably would not represent Roman Abramovich. Of course, a decade ago it was very different. Then, he proved highly successful on behalf of the owner of ‘Chelski FC’ in his battle with rival oligarch Boris Berezovsky.

During the trial Sumption painted a vivid picture of business life in the 1990s in Russia when Abramovich and Berezovsky rose to fortune. “There was no rule of law,” said Mr Sumption. “The police were corrupt. The courts were unpredictable at best – at worst open to manipulation by major political or economic interest groups. Nobody could go into business without access to political power.”

The moral implications of this are now coming home to lawyers across London. Against the background of the ruthless invasion of Ukraine these oligarchs and their businesses are no longer acceptable as clients. But before the invasion they were perfectly legitimate.

So one needs to figure this out. As Lord Pannick comments in The Times this morning, “People are entitled to advice from solicitors and barristers on their legal rights and duties, and they are entitled to legal representation in court, however reprehensible their alleged conduct.” In other words, in our indignation, we should not forget the rule of law. Difficult – but maybe essential.

The LegalDiarist

In this week’s edition

+ LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

-A Good Story from Linklaters

-Flawed Post Office Prosecutions Eviscerated

-Wading In To Media Defence

-Reader Alert: You might find this article upsetting

+ CONTRIBUTED ARTICLES OF THE WEEK

Developers to face the music as Government seeks to end the cladding crisis, says Gurpreet Sanghera, Partner at Simkins LLP

– Practical steps for employers to achieve gender equality

by  Lucy Flynn, Director of Employment, Beyond Corporate Law

LEGAL COMMENT OF THE WEEK

TOPIC: The Government’s failure to fight fraud effectively

COMMENT BY: Richard Hyde, Senior Researcher, Social Market Foundation

TOPIC: The introduction by the Government of ‘the most generous visa system in the world’ for company founders and high-skilled workers

COMMENT BY:  Charlie Fowler, Senior Associate, Collyer Bristow

TOPIC: The sale of Chelsea Football Club by Roman Abramovich

COMMENT BY: Stephen Taylor Heath, Head of Sports Law at JMW Solicitors

+ Appointments of the Week at Nexa and Excello

LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

A Good Story from Linklaters

No-one left to tell a tale?

“Lawyers are inveterate story-tellers,” says Ian Rodwell, Head of Client Knowledge at Linklaters (by which we don’t think he meant tellers of untruths) in an article in the current edition of Information Professional. “They swap tales of the deals they are working on, the client relationships they are trying to build, and the legal problems they’ve encountered and solved.”

It is this informal spraying around of information and insights which assist the ‘diffusion of organisational culture’ . “They comprise the social glue, the ‘connective tissue’ that enables us to collaborate and work more effectively,” says Rodwell. “And what’s more most of these exchanges take place in the informal areas around offices – kitchen areas, changing rooms even toilets and car parks.” It’s what the anthropologists call the ‘liminal’ spaces.

So, you can see where this is going. Lockdown pretty well put a stop to all that. And hybrid working will make it less common, more stop-start and stilted.

“How can we best introduce serendipity, unplanned interactions between diverse groups, or the creation of spaces where hierarchy dissolves?” asks Rodwell. “Or to take a more pessimistic stance, will the predicted flight from offices to remote and hybrid working signal the decline of story-telling and, worryingly, the benefits it gives us all.”

A good question – particularly at Linklaters which is planning to move to a new base in Ropemaker Street. Where will tell the stories about the good old days in Silk Street?

Flawed Post Office Prosecutions Eviscerated

The ramifications of the hundreds of cases of miscarriage of justice which constitute the great Post Office Horizon scandal are likely to roll on for years. The part played by lawyers is now coming under scrutiny and there is a public appetitive for anyone who behaved unethically or illegally to be held to account.

To get under the skin of this it is worth watching the analysis provided by Richard Moorhead of the School of Law at the University of Exeter on YouTube in ‘Post Office Scandal: An Absolute Catastrophe in Litigation’.

“How were the Post Office Lawyers managed and how did they, in turn, manage the civil litigation?” asks Moorhead. “Who was making what decisions and what was the responsibility of lawyers to act ethically? On what basis was the conduct of the litigation roundly condemned by Justice Fraser?”

Moorhead is part of the ‘Evidence Based Justice Lab’ at Exeter and his specialism is professional ethics among lawyers. He highlights how factors such as the corporate culture at the Post Office shaped the lawyers’ conduct and, indeed, how their influence shaped the way the organisation pursued the innocent. And he is, to put it bluntly, scathing about how the litigation itself was conducted. It is, sadly, a stand-out indictment of the moral corruption in British corporate life.

Don’t blame the lawyers – It was the Post Box what dun it

“It ought to be required listening for everyone involved in litigation or interested in the failure of the civil/criminal justice system in the UK,” says lawyer Nick Gould. “But not particularly pleasant if you happen to be on the receiving end of his comments.”

See Post Office Scandal: An Absolute Catastrophe in Litigation at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15MiwVKXhts

Wading In To Media Defence

Alex Wade – Drop me a Line

Alex Wade – boxer, surfer, Times legal journalist, novelist, football pundit. How many other metiers can you squeeze into a life? Well, in Wade’s case he is also a very successful lawyer and as the Head of Reviewed and Cleared a boutique media law practice, he is now a partner at Wiggin.

Reviewed & Cleared is an interesting story in its own right with its previous top lawyers being lured away to leading in-house jobs – David Burgess joined Netflix and then Julian Darrall joined TikTok. Meanwhile law firm Wiggin had taken a part-share in the ownership of the business and then, after David Burgess departed, there was a full take-over.

‘I’ve known Caroline Kean [head of litigation at Wiggin who acted for journalist Catherine Belton recently] for many years and her commitment to helping creators get their work into print or on screen is second to none,” said Wade. “I was thrilled that Caroline wanted me to head up Reviewed and Cleared – a success story with the best collective of pre-publication and pre-broadcast lawyers in the UK – and become a partner at Wiggin. Our work is ever more important given that, for all the supposed improvements flowing from the Defamation Act 2013, London remains the libel capital of the world. On a daily basis what should be a simple right – freedom of expression – is threatened. It’s a privilege to be in a role where, working with so many excellent lawyers, we can make a difference to creators’ lives.”

With oligarchs and autocrats now very much on the defensive there should be no shortage of work ahead.

Reader Alert: You might find this article upsetting

Announcements and releases by law firms are often complex but never completely baffling. Until, that is, Cadwalader hit the send button on Tuesday of this week for Made for TV: The SEC’s Regulatory Posture on Climate Risk’.

The first couple of lines – the heading – were moderately sensible – And then there was the date – March 01, 2022: Fair enough. But then appeared what must be described, presumably, as a woke bad joke.

Warning:  This article may describe new regulations that could upset the audience.  Discretion advised.

It then went on to a long ramble about ‘Climate change-related risks to the U.S. financial system’. Now had there been dramatic depictions of the ‘worst case’ consequences of climate change (the end of the human species as we know it ) that warning might have made some sense. As it was the most chilling section the Legal Diary could find read, “The physical impacts associated with climate change might trigger disclosure requirements.  For example, it might be material for a particular registrant to disclose the risk of severe weather caused by climate change if the severe weather might affect the registrant’s operations and results.”

Upset? More like hilarious incredulity

CONTRIBUTED ARTICLES OF THE WEEK

Developers to face the music as Government seeks to end the cladding crisis, says Gurpreet Sanghera, Partner at Simkins LLP

Is the end in sight?

Four and a half years since the Grenfell Tragedy, the Housing Minister Michael Gove has announced that developers will be forced to face the music and accept responsibility for the costs of fixing the cladding crisis.

Many developers have sought to avoid liability by relying on legal loopholes as many leaseholders have no direct cause of action against them or simply cannot afford to fund the costs of litigation.

Whilst commending several developers for doing the right thing, Gove made it clear that the time has come for developers to end the misery they have inflicted on innocent leaseholders faced with endless bills from their freeholders.

There is no doubt that many developers will have taken a step back in the hope that the government would step in and provide funding to fix the problem that they created. However, in a letter addressed to the Residential Property Developer Industry, Gove makes it clear that the government is prepared to take all necessary steps including restricting access to government funding and the imposition of a solution in law if necessary.

Developers are seeking to resist the proposed action by arguing that it would be unfair to place the entire cost on the developer without considering the roles of other parties, including the building safety regulator and cladding construction companies. The one shoe fits all approach may not be the best way forward. One possible way to redress the balance may be to create a mechanism that would enable developers to seek remedies from third parties, where it is subsequently established that they are also at fault.

What does seem to be clear however is that leaseholders should not be the ones to incur the costs and headache associated with fixing the problem and developers that have behaved badly should be penalised.

The introduction of a new 4% tax to be applied to larger developers on profits from 1 April 2022 will include those developers who have done the right thing. It may therefore seem unfair to penalise the entire industry for the failings of a few.

Practical steps for employers to achieve gender equality

by  Lucy Flynn, Director of Employment, Beyond Corporate Law

“Gender pay gap reporting has now been in place for around five years and companies with 250 or more employees are obliged to report their gender pay gap; namely the difference between what a man is paid on average per hour and what a woman is paid on average per hour within that organisation, irrespective of their job role. Despite its intention, this doesn’t always give an accurate representation of the level of gender pay equality – or equal pay – within an organisation, which is a different issue to the gender pay gap.

It has been unlawful to pay people performing the same or similar work differently based on gender for decades. However, commentators agree that lack of transparency regarding pay; organisationally, nationally and personally is a real barrier to understanding whether there is real equality of terms for the same work across the genders.  It is this which the government was trying to overcome by introducing the regulations regarding gender pay gap reporting.

So, how can equal pay be both understood and achieved? Is transparency the answer? In part, it probably is. But it’s not the full picture and being transparent about pay doesn’t overcome other factors at play, such as the uneven distribution of “unpaid work” preventing women engaging more fully in paid work and workers in lower paid sectors, such as care, being largely women. And given that the gender pay gap still stands at somewhere between 14 – 15%, there is clearly still a long way to go.

However, there are ways that the pay gap can be tackled at an organisational level. For example, advertising a job with its pay and benefits from the outset, rather than stating that salary is “negotiable” and confirming pay at the offer stage would avoid any gender bias over pay. Being open both internally and externally regarding a particular role and what it attracts in terms of salary and benefits – and even addressing openly from the outset the basic issues such as how maternity benefits, flexible working arrangements and shared parental leave work in practice – can massively help to level the playing field. Dealing with the questions that someone looking at your organisation is often scared to ask could be the deciding factor in whether someone wants to work for your organisation.

It has also been suggested by HR experts that interviewers should consider asking interviewees the qualities they would bring to the role; and consider NOT asking them what they are currently being paid. If a candidate is coming from a low-paying organisation, or is returning from maternity leave, a career break or a period of part-time working, preserving such terms can simply exacerbate the gender pay gap. If a salary for a role is in line with the value it brings to a business, and is not dependent upon what someone was paid beforehand, then an organisation can leave pay disparity at its doors and is more likely to achieve equal pay and equality in terms.”

LEGAL COMMENT OF THE WEEK

TOPIC: The Government’s failure to fight fraud effectively

COMMENT BY: Richard Hyde, Senior Researcher, Social Market Foundation

“Fraud is now Britain’s dominant crime, but policing has utterly failed to keep up with its rapid and painful growth. That means too many people are suffering the distress and loss that fraud inflicts. We are trying to fix a 21st Century problem with a policing system devised for the 19th Century. We need major change.”

“Too much debate about policing is still about bobbies on the beat. While visible policing to reassure people is important, it’s not what’s needed to tackle the biggest group of crimes being committed in Britain today. Politicians should be honest with voters about the nature of crime today and the major changes that will be needed to deal with it.”

TOPIC: The introduction by the Government of ‘the most generous visa system in the world’ for company founders and high-skilled workers

COMMENT BY:  Charlie Fowler, Senior Associate, Collyer Bristow

 “The current Innovator visa route (for entrepreneurs coming to the UK to set up a business here) is not always straightforward and will certainly benefit from the simplifications that are in the pipeline. 

 “The UK remains a key location for new businesses, in particular in sectors like fintech and technology more broadly. A pre-pandemic report noted that half of the fastest-growing companies in the UK had at least one founder or co-founder who was born outside the UK, compared with less than 15% of the population who are foreign-born.  Migrants are job creators as well as wealth creators, so the Government is right to do all it can to attract these individuals to the UK.”

TOPIC: The sale of Chelsea Football Club by Roman Abramovich

COMMENT BY: Stephen Taylor Heath, Head of Sports Law at JMW Solicitors

Will John Terry come as part of the deal?

 “It is understood Abramovich does not own the club directly but rather controls the corporate entities that do. For a takeover the first legal issue would be whether the sale was of the club as an asset of that company or the company itself. There may be shareholder agreements in place that could be relevant requiring the cooperation of third parties.

A sale would likely require consideration of the structure and what was being sold. The right to run the football operation may be in the hands of a different corporate entity to say the ground or hotel or training ground etc.

 “Any would be buyer would need to undertake due diligence which would establish the ownership structure and any issues with the club. And so a very quick immediate sale would be very difficult in practice.

Further the prospective buyers would have to complete the Owners and Director test to show that they were fit and proper persons for owning/running the club. This would involve an analysis of the proposed owners including their interest in other clubs and The Premier League would be particularly keen to establish the source of funding and if any third parties were involved that had not been declared who would be in effective control of the club. That process may be eased if the executives currently running the club remain in situ however new owners normally want to bring in their own team for the key positions.

Clearly the substantial loans that have been reported would be a key issue if the club was saddled with substantial debt that could be called in at any time on an ongoing basis. That would also bring into focus the leverage that the lender had in relation to the operation of the club as a result of that debt.

The prospective owners have to complete reports establishing the ongoing financial viability of the club as part of the documentation to be submitted for approval by the Premier League.”

APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK

Gideon Moore the former Linklaters’ Global Managing Partner, is joining Nexa Law Limited as a non-executive director. Moore was Global Managing Partner of Linklaters for 6 years before retiring as a partner in November 2021.  Meanwhile on 1 April, he also starts as Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel at NatWest.

“We are thrilled to have Gideon join our board,” says Nigel Clark, nexa’s CEO. “He is uniquely placed to help accelerate nexa’s growth and help us deliver on our ambitions to become the UK’s best platform for lawyers pursuing alternative career paths.”

Gideon Moore added, “I am very impressed by nexa’s ambitions and its people and I’m really looking forward to contributing to its future.  It’s such an exciting time for the legal industry.”

Jessie Williams has been appointed as head of risk and compliance at‘disruptor’ law firm Excello. She joins from from law and business advisory firm Ince (formerly Gordon Dadds) where she was senior manager, risk and governance during a significant growth and acquisition period for the business.

Williams has experience in the banking sector and extensive knowledge of anti-money laundering regulations and FCA rules. She will act as a key point of contact for lawyers and their teams. Comments Joanne Losty, director at Excello, “We have significant plans for growth and expansion over the next five years and the appointment of Jessie to our leadership team, and the enhancement of resource within our 360 team, confirms our commitment to investing in the depth and breadth of our central business resources.”

We intend to publish next week – but who knows what might happen between then and now! – so please continue to send your diary news, insights and legal comment to

fennell.edward@legaldiarist

And if you have enjoyed this edition of the Legal Diary please share it with colleagues.

Edward Fennell’s LEGAL DIARY

Friday 25 February 2022 Edition 93

SHORT THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK:

ARE RUSSIAN OFFICES NOW OVER AND OUT?

This may be the new Moscow but it’s still ‘Get back to the USSR’ comrades Image courtesy of Culture Trip

Overnight the management of large international law firms headquartered in London has become decisively more difficult. The invasion of Ukraine by Putin’s armed forces has meant that almost any kind of business with Russian entities could become highly problematic. Yet any law firm worth its salt these days has a substantial Moscow office and Russian practice.

Over recent years local lawyers have replaced the Brits and Americans and Australians who used to occupy the key roles. But the overall direction and strategy must be overseen from the West.

Look, for example, at the position of Bruce Dear who has just been elected Chair of Eversheds Sutherland and takes over on 1 May. On the firm’s website this is how its Russian operation is described. “Addressing legal issues in Russia is often made more difficult by clichés: stereotypes about the way things are done in Russia, overly legalistic advice and an outmoded conception of what a lawyer’s role should be. At Eversheds Sutherland, we reject those clichés entirely. Instead, we apply global best practice in a Russian context; we make practical and commercially-sensitive advice; and, we act as a trusted advisor to business.”

So will life now go on as normal for Eversheds – ‘applying best practice in a Russian context’ – and the many other Western firms which have done well out of Russian business? And how will London and New York-based Chairs and Managing Partners square the variety of pressures they will now face?

The LegalDiarist

In this week’s edition

+ LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

– Cryptic Lawyers

Hogan Lovells: Moving but not Uprooting

Domestic Violence Case Workers to Qualify as Solicitors

Divorce Show Says It’s Not Just about Lawyers

+ UKRAINE SPECIAL REPORT: WHAT THE LAWYERS ARE SAYING

+ CONTRIBUTED ARTICLE OF THE WEEK How HMRC has ‘Gone Digital’ with Seizure Orders by Andrew Park

+ LEGAL COMMENT OF THE WEEK How cutting corners on building sites continues to cost lives by Lee Hart

+ APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK at Harneys and Ropes & Gray

Cryptic Lawyers

Reality or illusion? Image courtesy of NASDAQ

Well, someone had to be the first. The announcement that radical outfit gunnercooke is to be the first major British law firm to accept payment for legal and professional services in cryptoassets – such as ether and bitcoin – is perhaps not a great surprise. What might stop one, however, is that the timing is not so good – bitcoin has just dropped in value by more than 10% following events in the Ukraine. It just shows, maybe, that dealing in crypto-currencies is still risky business.

However, in fairness to the firm, it has got quite a lot of skin in the game. Its FinTech and Cryptoasset full-service practice has built up a client base of around 100 cryptocurrency developers, platforms and exchanges. So maybe it has to demonstrate moral support for its clients. 

“It’s vital that we accept payment in this way for our substantial client base, which spans the entire blockchain and cryptoasset ecosystem.” said Financial Services & FinTech Partner James Burnie. “Accepting payment in cryptoassets demonstrates our commitment to and understanding of this important and growing community.

“Over the next decade I expect to see a gradual transition towards cryptocurrency becoming increasingly accepted as a means of payment generally.”

Naseer Patel, Finance Director agreed.“Up to now, only a few US law firms allow for cryptoasset payments so we are proud to be at the forefront of innovation in the UK,” he said. “We will now be able to work with a wider variety of clients across different jurisdictions, plus offer our partners the flexibility to be paid securely in the way they choose.”

Hogan Lovells: Moving but not Uprooting

Last man standing at Atlantic House?

Roots count for Hogan Lovells so even though it has announced an important office move it will still be to a location within a stone’s throw of its current base in Atlantic House on Holborn Viaduct.

Atlantic House has, of course, been something of a marmite building – some loved it (including the LegalDiarist) but it certainly had its critics. Anyway, it’s time is now almost up as last week thefirm signed an agreement to create a new ‘266,000 square foot sustainable working environment’ immediately across the road. Work will start in the summer of this year ahead of occupancy towards the end of 2026.

Our London office is of considerable strategic importance to the firm and our clients,” said Penny Angell, UK Managing Partner. “Having occupied the Atlantic House building since 2001, we are excited at the opportunity to redefine how our space can best support our business and create something bespoke, while staying true to our values, heritage and 40+ year history in Holborn Viaduct.

In line with the firm’s global sustainability plan and commitment to being a ‘responsible business’, the new office will have very high sustainability credentials targeting BREEAM Outstanding and WELL certifications, with green spaces, energy and efficiency embedded within the design. David Crew, Head of Corporate Real Estate at Hogan Lovells added that the new office would “Support our responsible business commitments to the environment that include RE100, Race to Zero and our SBTi pledge to be net zero by 2030.”

Should see them through to 2050 with any luck.

Domestic Violence Case Workers Get Chance to Qualify as Solicitors

The latest news on the Legal Apprenticeship front demonstrates that the scheme’s momentum is continuing to grow. The National Centre for Domestic Violence has announced this week that it is launching a programme which will offer solicitor apprenticeships to legally trained staff in their casework teams in conjunction with the University of Law.

Most of the organisation’s case-workers already have a law degree and their work, primarily funded via legal aid, is supervised within NCDV by qualified solicitors. However, until the recent reforms they could not gain access to professional qualifications. Now, however, they will be able to do so with the SRA-approved scheme enabling them to complete training and qualification without incurring massive debts.

“Our new legal apprenticeship scheme is a triple win.” explains NCDV’s Head of Legal and Barrister, Cheryl Thornley.  “First, it is a win for NCDV’s clients, those many thousands of victims and survivors of domestic abuse in England, who will get even better service and team continuity. Previously, some of our most talented case-workers had to leave us after a few months simply to be able to take their next professional career step.

“Second, it’s a huge gain for all those who have law degrees and who want to go into the law but find they cannot do so due to prohibitive training costs and training contract uncertainties. Through employment in NCDV’s case-work teams they can now realise their professional goals quickly while doing vitally important paid work.

“Third, the legal profession and society as a whole will benefit from the much more broadly based and diverse intake that professional apprenticeship schemes of this nature will stimulate.”

The first two case-workers to undertake the scheme will start this month. “It may well lead not merely to greater operational efficiencies but to an overall increase in the numbers of our case-workers who will then be able to help even more victims and survivors,” said Thornley. “For us, and for survivors of abuse who access our service, it will be a real game-changer.”

Divorce Show Says It’s Not Just about Lawyers

Torn it! You need help for a straight split

Given the ‘popularity’ of divorce it is surprising that the Divorce Show has not been a regular part of the family law calendar for many years. Instead, only the second ever ‘Divorce Show’ was held over two days this week at Hilton London Olympia.

Devised by Smith O’Connor – himself apparently a serial divorcee – its purpose is to help divorcing couples to ‘transition out of their marriages, focusing always on keeping things amicable for the sake of the children’.

It was striking that of the fourteen speakers on the first day only one was a man – and he was talking about co-parenting after divorce. Day two was slightly more balanced but still overwhelmingly female (which probably tells us quite a lot amount the gender dynamics of divorce).

Lawyers naturally had a big part to play in the presentations. For example, Naheed Taj of Child & Child spoke about ‘Finding Love After Divorce’ and Fiona Lyon and Sarah Hughes of Anthony Gold Law explained ‘How to Divorce Online and Other Ways to Save Legal Costs’. “

Meanwhile the family team at Fletcher Day said that they had been delighted to be able to take part in the event as a way of helping people ‘understand the divorce process and to work out which organisations will be best placed to guide them.’ Emma Nash, who co-ordinated the firm’s presence, commented that, “While the majority of people will need a solicitor to guide them through the process, many individuals, couples and their children will benefit from the support of other professionals such as counsellors, coaches and mediators. There are also charities who are able to provide support and advice.  While making the decision to divorce is often a stressful one, it can have many positive outcomes  enabling individuals to take back control and move on with their lives. ”

So, better luck next time.

UKRAINE SPECIAL REPORT: WHAT THE LAWYERS ARE SAYING

In obvious need of de-Nazification? Image courtesy of Culture Trip

Stacy Keen a sanctions expert at Pinsent Masons

The initial slow pace of sanctions is going to accelerate. Businesses should urgently be identifying not just Russian and Ukrainian business partners but also non-Russian / Ukrainian counterparties that have a significant exposure to these countries.”

We all hope this crisis gets solved quickly but in the meantime, businesses need a contingency and real time plan for long term sanctions.”

 Nicholas Rostow, professor of law at Cornell Law School, and previously  general counsel and senior policy adviser to the U.S. and on the National Security Council for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Putin’s claims that the USSR created Ukraine are belied by history and, in any event, do not alter the fact that Ukraine is an independent state and a member of the United Nations.  

 “It ought to be absurd that Putin can repeat the arguments Adolf Hitler made for invading Czechoslovakia. Russia has manufactured the separatism in Ukraine. Whatever real grievances Russian speakers may have against the government of Ukraine do not provide a legal justification for Russia to absorb an independent country into itself.  

 “Too many times, aggression unmet has been aggression rewarded. Too many times, aggression unmet has led to greater aggression and greater war. Nuclear weapons make that prospect horrific to contemplate. At the same time, we cannot allow possession of nuclear weapons to provide cover for aggression by conventional arms.”

Dr Aurel Sari, Director of the University of Exeter’s Centre for International Law and Fellow of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe and Allied Rapid Reaction Corps

By invading Ukraine, Russia has committed a serious and grave breach of the prohibition to use armed force against another State, as set out in Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter.

It is important to recognize that international law remains relevant in dealing with Russia’s aggression. Since the Russian intervention amounts to an ‘armed attack’ within the meaning of the United Nations Charter, Ukraine is entitled to use whatever armed force is necessary and proportionate to bring the Russian invasion and any resulting occupation to an end. Pursuant to the right of collective self-defence, Ukraine may also invite other States, including the United Kingdom, to provide it with military assistance. Without such an invitation, third States may not take measures against Russia that would themselves involve the use of force. However, they may adopt a wide range of non-forcible measures, ranging from unfriendly acts (such as adopting economic sanctions or limiting diplomatic relations) to countermeasures (which involve acts that are otherwise unlawful under international law). Third States are also under an obligation not to recognize any attempt by Russia to unlawfully annex further parts of Ukraine.

For its part, Russia is under an obligation to cease its unlawful actions and to restore Ukraine’s political independence and territorial integrity in full. While the combat activities last, Russia is also bound to observe the law of armed conflict, which amongst other things require Russian forces to distinguish strictly between military objectives and civilian persons and objects.”

CONTRIBUTED ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

How HMRC has ‘Gone Digital’ with Seizure Orders

by Andrew Park

Andrew Park

News that HMRC has just seized its first non-fungible tokens (“NFTs”) from suspected tax fraudsters is no surprise. It marks the convergence of two of HMRC’s biggest objectives of the last five years:

  1. to acquire and use civil powers to seize the proceeds of tax evasion

and

2. to trace UK-resident holders of crypto assets and ensure there is no safe haven for tax evaders in cyberspace.

Effective January 2018, HMRC acquired with a handful of other government agencies the civil power under the Criminal Finances Act 2017 to apply to the UK High Court for Unexplained Wealth Orders. These enable seizure of “recoverable property” where there are reasonable grounds to suspect serious crime such as tax evasion and the acquisition of the assets cannot be adequately explained and evidenced. These need not be pursuant to a successful criminal prosecution and rely only on the civil burden of proof.

Initially aimed at international individuals involved in laundering the proceeds of overseas corruption through the UK, the scope is wide enough to catch people who have made fortunes buying and selling cryptoassets like NFTs and Bitcoin but who have ignored the UK tax consequences and may have declared little else.

Meanwhile, also beginning in 2018, HMRC joined forces with the US Internal Revenue Service and counterparts in Australia, Canada and Holland to launch the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (“J5”). Their top initial concern was crypto – namely difficulties tracing holdings of cryptoassets, their use by criminals and the relative invisibility of taxable crypto transactions. Since then, HMRC and its partners in the J5 Cyber Tax Crime unit have served bulk information notices on crypto exchanges, compiled databases of larger transactions and have steadily started opening investigations. One investigation is even said to involve a global financial institution and its intermediaries.

This is just the start. For an HMRC looking for more “low hanging fruit” after cleaning up traditional offshore investment accounts, crypto is shaping up to be the next big thing.

Andrew Park, is a Tax Investigations Partner at Andersen in the UK


TOPIC: A new study by construction site storage experts at SiteStak shows that despite improved health and safety awareness, there are still too many accidents resulting in serious injury or death. 

COMMENT BY: Lee Hart of Clarke Willmott, an accredited senior litigator and brain injury specialist within the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers

As safe as houses?

“News that the number of construction-related injuries in the UK is on a slow overall decline is welcome news, but employers and contractors are still cutting corners and endangering lives, according to personal injury specialist Lee Hart. 

“The new study, using published data from the Health and Safety Executive, shows injuries and ill health to workers is costing the UK construction industry approximately £1.29bn a year, with male construction workers seven times more likely to be injured. 

“Not only is this a staggering cost financially to industry but it is devastating to those seriously injured and the families of those killed,” said Lee, a member of Clarke Willmott’s accredited personal injury team, who specialise in catastrophic injury and fatal accident claims. 

“The report acknowledges that huge strides have been made to safety on construction sites over the last decade with non-fatal injuries in UK construction having decreased by 45.56%, but there are still too many accidents and more can be done.  

“Despite improved health and safety awareness, employers and contractors are still cutting corners, often to save costs, and are endangering life and limb. We are still seeing plenty of cases where an employer’s negligence and breach of statutory duty has shattered lives.” 

APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK

HARNEYS

Rachel Graham has been appointed as managing partner of the London office of Harneys (first opened in 2002). She succeeds Phillip Kite who has returned to the BVI to continue his practice.

Graham has been practising law for the past 25 years including 17 ‘offshore’. She joined Harneys in 2007 and has been heading the firm’s BVI Corporate Transactional practice in the EMEA region advising corporations, high net worth individuals, entrepreneurs, financial institutions, seed capital investors, private equity funds and their advisers.

Rachel is an accomplished lawyer and has contributed greatly to our success within the EMEA market,” said Ross Munro, Harneys’ Global Managing Partner. “She is well positioned to continue to deliver our London strategy and we are delighted that she has agreed to take on this position. I have no doubt that our success in London will continue under her leadership.”

ROPES & GRAY

Annie Herdman

Annie Herdman has joined the Ropes & Gray office in London as a partner in the firm’s European antitrust team. Herdman specialises in advising a wide range of corporate, sovereign wealth, and private equity clients on EU, UK and multi-jurisdictional merger control and foreign investment strategy and filings. Additionally, she has experience advising clients on EU and UK cartel investigations, behavioural issues, and compliance matters. 

Herdman has been recognised by The Legal 500 as a ‘Next Generation Partner’ and a ‘Rising Star’ and Who’s Who Legal as a ‘Leader’, where she was noted as one of only four UK practitioners for her great ‘capacity to quickly understand the client’s business and form credible views’. Additionally, she has featured in Management Today’s 35 Women Under 35, which celebrates the top 35 female business talent in the UK under the age of 35.

“Annie’s arrival represents the continuation of the growth that we’ve seen over the last six years,” said Ruchit Patel, head of European antitrust at Ropes & Gray.

E-VENTS

10 March 2022 12:00 – 13:00 GMT Webinar 

There are IP rights, competition and regulatory constraints that affect the movement of goods between the UK and the EU and between the UK and the rest of the world. In this webinar, we’ll talk you through the practical and commercial implications of those restrictions, particularly post Brexit. We will also look at what the future holds for the UK’s parallel imports regime now that the Government’s post-Brexit consultation on this issue has concluded and in preparation for the introduction of the UK Vertical Agreements Block Exemption Order. 

If you know someone else who would like to attend, please forward this invite and ask them to register here.
 
Free movement of goods – the IP, competition and Brexit related considerations10 March 202212:00 – 13:00 GMTWebinar 
  Accept  Decline  
Speakers
Emily Swithenbank, Senior Associate, Pinsent Masons
Robert Vidal, Partner, Pinsent Masons 
For further information please contact:
Liz Ekpiken
Events Executive+44 20 7667 0101 liz.ekpiken@pinsentmasons.com

fennell.edward@legaldiarist

Keep safe.