Edward Fennell’s LEGAL DIARY

Friday 7th May 2021 Edition 56

Diary news, commentary, insights, appointments and e-vents from the legal world

SHORT THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK – WHO NEEDS ELECTIONS?

Hands Up if you know a good lawyer

If, by the time you read this, the results of the Scottish election are known and the SNP has fallen short of its hoped-for IndyRef2 majority then please stop reading now and pass on to the rest of the Legal Diary below. But if the result is still unknown or if the SNP is feeling empowered to demand a second referendum then feel free to remain.

Yesterday The Times ran a typically brilliant cartoon by Peter Brookes featuring divorcing couple B. Johnson and N. Sturgeon sharing a sofa but gesturing rudely at each other. Gloating over them was a troop of grinning lawyers and the legend, ‘The most expensive divorce in history!’

If, over the next five years, the Scots decide to opt out then for sure the DisUniting Kingdom will need all the lawyer power that London and Edinburgh can muster. But rather than thinking of it as a divorce let’s consider it as a de-merger. The less emotion and the more calm lawyering the better. Sadly, Westminster politicians made a botch of the Brexit negotiations because they were driven by simplistic slogans. If it comes to a Scexit then let’s hope some canny lawyers can make a better job of it.

The LegalDiarist

fennell.edward@yahoo.com

IN THIS WEEK’S EDITION

+ THE LEGAL DIARY

The Good News is – Fewer PI Problems Than Expected

The Bad News Is Even Fewer Criminal Practitioners Than Needed

Some Up, Some Down – The Crazy Legal Market

– Unwanted Guest List? {When visiting the UAE]

Irwin Mitchell Brings a Breath of Fresh Air

+ LEGAL COMMENT OF THE WEEK – TO PRE-NUP OR NOT TO PRE-NUP

+ APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK

Twenty Essex, Harneys, BDB Pitmans

+E-VENTS

THE LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

The Good News is – Fewer PI Problems Than Expected

Statistics come in raw but they can be cooked up in lots of different ways. Hence this week’s figures from Hazlewoods, Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers, on the number of law firms unable to meet their PI insurance bills have been presented in some quarters of the legal press as alarmingly high. But there is another interpretation which offers proof, maybe, that there is much greater resilience in the legal industry than expected

“Given the rising costs of PI Insurance in conjunction with the economic effects of Covid, there were fears that more firms would be unable to afford the mandatory PI insurance,” says Hazelwoods.

In reality, however, just 60 law firms have had to close through being unable to secure insurance. And although this is 50% more than last year it is far fewer than had been anticipated. “The legal profession overall has handled the pandemic and the rising cost of PI Insurance very well,” comments Andy Harris, Partner at Hazlewoods. “These setbacks could have prompted a bigger increase in closures but most firms have seen much better than expected cashflow over the last 12 months. This is thanks to the deferral of tax and VAT payments last year and the availability of cheap borrowings through the Bounce Back and CBILS loan schemes, which have allowed them to pay their PI premiums.”

What’s remarkable is that this is despite the fact that there have been no new entrants into the legal/PI insurance market offering seductive deals. The bounce back looks promising.

The Bad News Is There Are Even Fewer Criminal Practitioners Than Needed

Do these people even still exist?

Consistent warnings to Government about the state of the criminal legal aid have been ignored to the point where, according to the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, the work no longer offers a ‘sustainable career’. As a result the stability of the entire system is now under threat.

This is not new news. What is striking, however, is the scale of the exodus. CILEX has seen a steady decline in the number of its practitioners choosing criminal law as their long-term career path to the point that there are now 50% fewer members electing to study criminal law than in 2012. “This contrasts with those qualifying into areas such as conveyancing and civil litigation, where numbers of new entrants have continued to rise,” says the Institute.

Without trivialising the issue it must be said that the way criminal lawyers are characterised on TV is not helping. Recent transmissions of Line of Duty, for example, have depicted them as either sleepy and dishevelled or plain dodgy. For its part CILEX expresses concerns about the impact of political rhetoric around ‘lefty lawyers’ and ‘do-gooders’, which appears to discredit certain parts of the legal profession, further undermining the good will on which the system increasingly relies.

The result is, “A gradual departure of talented professionals from the defence sector as they become more and more attracted to the higher wages and greater job security offered by institutions such as the Crown Prosecution Service.”

For its own part CILEX has a gripe that its members face barriers to progression in criminal law, whether in defence ot prosecution. This includes rules that prevent CILEX practitioners from becoming Crown Prosecutors and the lack of recognition entrenched within the Criminal Litigation Accreditation Scheme, which fails to account for the level of training and competence that CILEX Advocates possess.

 “These restrictions have the notable effect of limiting opportunities and career growth for CILEX Lawyers. The opportunities available to students and junior lawyers in pursuing a career in criminal legal aid are restricted from the outset and this drives some out of the sector and harms the pipeline of talent needed to meet the demands of the criminal justice system.”

Predictions of a collapse in the system have been long in the making. But maybe it will just be death through lack of conviction.

Some Up, Some Down – The Crazy Legal Market

To contextualise further the two previous stories the latest Gross Legal Product (GLP) Index figures from LexisNexis show that overall year-on-year, the legal market contracted by 4.3% during 2020. However, while Criminal Litigation declined by 7.1% Risk & Compliance work grew by 22% – with double digit growth in every quarter! In other words, it is a story of two completely different businesses operating within what is nominally the same profession.

Here are some other examples. Civil Litigation fell by 35% but Family Litigation  in Q4 2020 grew by 9% (presumably showing the pent-up exasperation arising from lock-down). Meanwhile, Commercial levelled out at 11% growth and Employment was up at +6.2%. Competition saw a 10% contraction, due to decline in M&As and global trade.

Perhaps the figure of most significance was that Restructuring & Insolvency activity fell by 18%. Clearly this is an indication of time standing still during Covid. But surely there will be an explosion ahead – unless the Chancellor of the Exchequer really has pulled off a miracle.

“Anyone interested in practice development and planning should take a first look at the Index,“ said Barry Ó’Néill McAlinden, Barrister at Field Court Chambers.

The latest report can be downloaded from www.lexisnexis.co.uk/research-and-reports/gross-legal-product-index-q1-2021.html

Unwanted Guest List?

“I said I’d never go back!”

Courtesy of Carter-Ruck here’s a quartet of jolly guys you might want to avoid on your next trip to the fun-filled UAE.

Counsellor Saqr Saif Al Naqbi, formerly the head of State Security, Public Prosecution in Abu Dhabi

Major-General Mohammed Khalfan Al Rumaithi, formerly Commander in Chief of the Abu Dhabi police

Major-General Ahmed Naser Ahmed Alrais Al Raisi, Inspector General in the Ministry of the Interior; and

Ali Mohammed Hamad Hammad Al Shamsi, a senior intelligence official in the UAE.

British academic Matthew Hedges is claiming damages in the High Court against these four beauties on the grounds of assault, false imprisonment and the intentional infliction of psychiatric injury which occurred during the course of his detention in Abu Dhabi, UAE from 5 May 2018 to 26 November 2018.

“My fight for justice continues and my lawyers have filed a case in the civil courts in order to hold those responsible to account,” says Mr Hedges. “I hope it will ensure that what happened to me should never be allowed to happen again.”

An admirable but somewhat vain aspiration one suspects.

Irwin Mitchell Brings In a Breath of Fresh Air

The vulnerability of people with asthma to very serious illness has been brought into stark relief by Covid so the timing could not be better for Irwin Mitchell to form a new three-year partnership with Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation (BLF).

The main aim of th partnership is to enhance support services available to people living with lung disease by helping with the running of a network of 150 volunteer-led support groups around the UK.

Already the firm has been supporting people affected by lung conditions either through workplace illness or illness-related injury.  Now it will be supporting specific BLF activities including a Volunteer Conference for the group support leaders to celebrate their achievements, recognise their contributions and provide further training and networking opportunities.

“Sadly through our work, we often see the terrible consequences respiratory illnesses, such as silicosis and asthma, can have on people and their families,” said David Johnston-Keay, a specialist lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, “We’re proud to be partnering Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation to raise awareness of the symptoms of respiratory illnesses and of the need for businesses to uphold health and safety laws.”

Jatinder Paul, also a specialist lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, added, “It’s vital that people with respiratory illness don’t feel they have to suffer in silence. Help and support, which can make a real difference to people’s lives, is available.”

Emphasising the importance of the role of support groups Sarah Woolnough, the Chief Executive of Asthma UK and the BLF, said, “For people with lung disease, the pandemic has been a particularly worrying and isolating time, with many forced to shield for months on end.  Throughout this time, the BLF support groups and the volunteers who run them, have continued to be more than just a support network, but a lifeline.”

LEGAL COMMENT OF THE WEEK –

TO PRE-NUP OR NOT TO PRE-NUP (THAT IS WHEN YOU POP THE QUESTION)

Insert Pre-Nup Here Image Courtesy Kraft Elder Law

Suddenly divorce is a la mode in the Billionaires Club. Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie breaking up after 25 years was perhaps not so surprising. But for the saintly Gates’ duo it seems more of a jolt. Could it be the result of being crammed together with nowhere to go on a thousand acre ranch during lockdown? More importantly for the lawyers, however, is what happens next to all the money.

It appears that Bill and Melinda Gates decided against having a prenup, which is incredibly unusual in such a massive-money case,” said David Thompson, Family Partner, at JMW Solicitors, “Very wisely, they already have a separation agreement in place and are asking a court in Seattle to approve it. However, the court in Seattle will not be bound to accept, and make legally-binding, the separation agreement, whereas a pre-nup would almost certainly have been rubber-stamped by the judge. More details are awaited as to why they took this very different route.

 “Without any agreement, or pre-nup, in place, the Seattle court would very likely have divided all the assets 50/50, especially given the long marriage (nearly 30 years) and the fact that most of the assets were built up during the marriage and they have three children together.

 “Bill and Melinda say they will continue to work together on their Foundation, but this would be a rare example of divorced couples continuing to have such close financial ties with each other in the next stage of their lives; certainly, many courts prefer a complete ‘clean-break’ so the parties can hit the reset button without their ex-spouse hovering over every decision they make about their futures.”

So there could be a lesson here for the thousands of frustrated would-be weds who will now start to pour into registry offices and sacred buildings and spaces around the country.

“The UK is facing a wedding boom over the next 18 months and a renewed interest in prenuptial agreements,” says Collyer Bristow.

Indeed, according to a report earlier this year by the trade body UK Weddings Taskforce it is estimated that some 824,000 weddings are planned for 2021 and 2022, following the postponement of 95% of weddings planned for 2020. [“I know!” says the LegalDiarist. “My neice’s wedding was postponed twice. It’s now happening later this month.”]

And, apparently, the spike in weddings is being matched by a renewed interest in prenuptial agreements. “A wedding is one of life’s great moments and bitterly disappointed couples had little choice but to delay the start of their new lives, “ observes Toby Yerburgh, Partner and Head of Family at Collyer Bristow. “But as those plans are revisited and wedding celebrations prepared, we are seeing a renewed interest in prenuptial agreements as part of financial planning for a life together.”

Whilst historically the preserve of the rich and famous, continues Yerburgh, prenups are now increasingly seen as sensible financial planning by couples wishing to protect pre-acquired assets, business interests, property, an inheritance and children from earlier relationships.

“Prenups, like a will, provide couples with security, clarity and certainty in the future for both parties,” adds Yerburgh.

Bet Bill is kicking himself.

APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK

TWENTY ESSEX

Professor Hi-Taek Shin

Professor Hi-Taek Shin is joining Twenty Essex as a full-time arbitrator. He will continue to reside and conduct his practice from Seoul, Korea. Until 2007, he was a senior partner at leading Korean law firm, Kim & Chang, specialising in cross-border transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and shareholders’ agreements and various commercial transactions. Since 2018, he has been serving as the Chairman of KCAB INTERNATIONAL, the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board’s international division.

“I look forward to joining my fellow arbitrators at Chambers and begin the next phase of my career endeavours to better serve for the effective and efficient resolution of international disputes,” says Prof. Shin.

BDB PITMANS

BDB Pitmans has appointed two new Legal Directors to its private client practice.

Lorna du Sautoy (above left) joins from Macfarlanes LLP, where she practiced as a Senior Solicitor in private client property for nearly eight years. Lorna has an extensive client base, providing practical and quality advice to prime and super prime London residential property and other luxury property assets. Her international clientele includes high net worth individuals and their companies, overseas as well as institutional investors, family offices, charities, banks, and trusts.

Sophie St. John (above right) re-joins the firm from RSM Legal LLP where she was a partner leading RSM’s private client legal services team. Before that she spent four years at a leading financial institution as in-house legal counsel supporting their global trust business. She has a wide range of experience within many aspects of private wealth, and regularly advises UK residents – as well as international, wealthy individuals, their families, and trustees on a wide range of UK legal and tax issues.

“The private wealth practice continues to be an important cornerstone of our business,” says Andrew Smith, Managing Partner at BDB Pitmans. “[Lorna and Sophie’s] global client base fits perfectly with our ambitious plans for growth as an outward-facing, internationally-minded, modern law firm.”

HARNEYS

Peter Ferrer

Harneys, the largest law firm based in the British Virgin Islands, has appointed Peter Ferrer as Co-Head of Litigation, Insolvency and Restructuring where he will jointly lead the team alongside Partner Phillip Kite.

Ferrer has  acted on behalf of institutions, companies, corporate entities and high net worth individuals. He is an experienced trial lawyer and has extensive experience of asset tracing and enforcement. He also heads the firm’s BVI-based Russian and CIS team and is consistently ranked by leading directories. Prior to joining Harneys BVI in 2016, he practised as a barrister. “As the firm broadens its international offering, I look forward to watching the success of this collaborative partnership.” said Chairman Peter Tarn.

E-VENTS

BINGHAM CENTRE FOR THE RULE OF LAW

WEBINAR 1: “Human Rights and the COVID-19 Pandemic”
Wednesday, 12 May 2021  |  09:00 – 10.30 BST / 10.00 – 11.30 CEST
  

COVID-19 – and state responses to it – present a threat to human rights unparalleled in the contemporary era. At the same time, human rights offer a universal framework which guides decision-makers, ensures accountability for their actions and omissions, and renders visible the structural inequalities which drives the pandemic’s differential impact on certain communities. Looking forward, this panel discusses how human rights can be used to underpin a just and sustainable post-pandemic recovery.

REGISTER

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WEBINAR 2: “Democracy and Disruption”
Thursday, 13 May 2021  |  08:00 – 09.30 BST / 09.00 – 10.30 CEST 
  

How has democracy been impacted by over a year of pandemic response and emergency? How have states ensured the democratic accountability of their actions in response to the global health emergency? What lessons can be learned for now, and for the future? This panel examines democratic practices, and highlights the best – and most concerning – developments.

REGISTER

——————————–

WEBINAR 3: “Science, Law and Decision Making”
Thursday, 13 May 2021  |  14:00 – 15.30 BST / 15.00 – 16.30 CEST 

Bringing together experts representing states who have adopted divergent attitudes to the role of science in law and decision-making, as well as an examination of vaccination policy, equity and individual choice, this panel considers the complex policy choices, rationales and politics which interplay in decision-making during a pandemic.

REGISTER

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We hope that you’ve found this edition of the Legal Diary interesting.

If so please relay on to colleagues.

Also please send in your news, views and insights to:

fennell.edward@yahoo.com

And whatever your political allegiance enjoy all the fun of the election results!

Edward Fennell’s LEGAL DIARY

Friday April 30 2021 Edition 55

Diary news, commentary, insights, appointments and e-vents from the legal world

SHORT THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK – WHO DID YOU SAY YOU ARE?

All solicitors cut from the same cloth?

‘Even the biggest law firm brands are relatively unknown to the broader population’ according to the results of a recent survey. So should law firms – and those who work for them – be relieved at that? Or will their egos be deflated?

Law firms and their solicitors are not actors on their own account. It is their clients who make the news – whether that be in a high profile criminal case or a big business bust-up. However the survey result does have wider implications about the status of lawyers in relation to both the law itself and the wider community. When Nigel Boardman the former head honcho at Slaughter and May was appointed recently to lead the inquiry into the Greensill lobbying controversy most people familiar with City law would have been impressed. After all, you could not get much better than the top person at Slaughters. Yet it did not seem to cut much ice with the wider community. Neither the integrity of the investigation nor the quality of the findings seemed to be guaranteed by names which are platinum to most of the readers of this Legal Diary. Indeed, some political commentators said the appointment was another example of the ‘cronyism’ which was what the Greensill issue was all about.

It is rare for solicitors to be in the limelight. Even Dr Neil Hudgell of Hudgell Solicitors (one of the champions of the Sub-Postmasters and mistresses) was only fleetingly on our screens recently. Whether that is right or fair or clever is a matter worth pondering,

The LegalDiarist

Please send you diary news, legal comments, insights and events to

fennell.edward@yahoo.com

In this week’s edition

+ LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

– ‘The Charter for Black Talent is not another tick-box exercise’

– New ‘Reports Legal’ Shimmers

– Straight-talking in Brussels?  

– A Case of ‘No Comment’ on pensions leak

– Righteous Pensions – Small pensions fund need help

Just Doing the Right Thing at Reed Smith

+ LEGAL COMMENT OF THE WEEK

THE POST OFFICE SCANDAL: THE BEGINNING OF THE END?

+ SPECIAL REPORT OF THE WEEK – SUIT YOURSELF

Here, there, anywhere or everywhere – where works best?

+ APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK

BCLP and Kennedys

+ E-VENTS

Linklaters

LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

The Charter for Black Talent is not another tick-box exercise’

Brick Court’s Harry Matovu QC

Brick Court QC Harry Matovu is one of the brains behind the new Charter for Black Talent in Finance and the Professions which has just received the backing of the Bar Council (as well as the four Inns of Court and several Chambers including Brick Court itself). The focus of the Charter is to facilitate career progression into more senior roles for black professionals. “The recognition of talented Black professionals and their promotion to positions of leadership in business and the professions is long overdue, and the fact that the Charter has the support of other sectors gives this initiative real weight. The Bar Council is proud to support it,” said Derek Sweeting QC, Chair of the Bar Council.

It is the controversial Sewell Report which provides something of a backdrop to the Charter. “The support of the Bar Council could not come at a more important time,” says Matovu. “It seems curious that the Sewell Report should boast about ‘the onward march of minorities into positions of power and responsibility in professions such as the law and medicine’, when that is not a picture of our profession that most of us at the Bar would recognise, particularly given the statistics for Black barristers in the highest-earning areas of practice at the Bar. 

“Equality of opportunity is fundamental to any true meritocracy, and as we begin to emerge from the events of the last year, the Bar must hold itself to the highest of standards in this area, whatever position others may take. The Charter for Black Talent is not another tick-box exercise.  Many senior executives and partners in the financial and professional services sectors have confirmed that it has the ability to drive real and lasting change in the recruitment and progression of talented Black professionals to senior grades.  So I hope the Bar will unanimously support the Charter. If not now, when?”

If not now, when?’ is one of those perennial questions hanging over the desire for change. The answer hinges on the significance of what has gone before. It will take the historians to judge whether events of the past year have been a decisive catalyst in transforming opportunities.

Find out more about the Charter for Black Talent in Finance and the Professions.

 Hear more on the Charter in this London First podcast interview with Harry Matovu QC.

 More information on the work of the Bar Council’s Race Working Group.

Reports Legal’ Shimmers

Even in the crowded market for legal journalism there is always room for a new approach. So definitely worth following up on the new REPORTS LEGAL led by Dominic Carman whose theme is ‘in-depth reports examining work done by international law firms across a variety of markets and sectors’.

Topics covered by the current edition include the state of Hong Kong, Gibraltar (‘a hub for crypto entrepreneurs’) and SPACs – plus some rather delightful off-shore elite firms. It’s glossy and beautifully presented as an E-magazine so it’s no surprise that its already attracting some great advertising. And it’s FREE.

Go to https://reportslegal.com/offshore-report-april-2021/

Straight-talking in Brussels?  

Can anything good come out of Brussels? In post-Brexit, post-Covid Britain that might be a tricky question. However, one exception is First Law International which in 2020 came out as the The Lawyer’s Global Network of the Year.

Headquartered in the EU’s capital, FLI has more than 100 leading national law firms as members of its FLI NET. “Our experts specialise in cross-border legal projects, enabling each of our clients to achieve growth and success on a global scale,” it explains.

One of its several claims to fame is to be at the forefront of innovation in LegalTech and it is now staking its reputation on the launch of FLInstitute, a ‘digital compliance training platform for in-house legal teams.’

“First Law International’s fully digital training platform helps in-house counsels understand the risks facing their business and help avoid infringements of local legislation in jurisdictions across the globe,” says Daniel-Casares Lauritsen, the network’s Chief Business Development Officer. “As part of our compliance program, we now offer TRACE-accredited training digitally covering Anti-corruption and Anti-bribery, as well as a variety of other modules which we co-create with our clients and local counsel. In a post-pandemic global environment, online training programs make it easier for internal teams to disseminate information quicker, more effectively, and usually at a much lower cost.”

One of the particular benefits is that the platform allows for multiple languages, depending on the teams’ locations. For once, in other words, not everyone is expected to speak Anglais/Inglese/Englisch/Saesneg/Béarla.

Another Case of ‘No Comment’?

Are these coppers due a pension?

It’s too serious a subject for joking but, nonetheless, reports that Equiniti failed to properly update its database, resulting in pension statements being sent to the wrong addresses of hundreds of former members of the Sussex Police force does have a strong hint of Line of Duty about it. The Equiniti data breach exposed the names, National Insurance numbers, salary banding, dates of birth, police service details, and pensions information of police officers. So if you were part of an OCG it could all be very interesting. No suprise then that almost 500 coppers have recently issued a compensation claim in the High Court against Paymaster 1836, the pensions part of Equiniti Group.

Acting for them is specialist group action law firm Keller Lenkner UK, whose Head of data breach, Kingsley Hayes, has taken a pretty robust approach. “A data breach of this scale has a significant impact on the individuals affected. Equiniti has thus far failed to recognise the seriousness of the data violation and the impact on the large number of police officers affected. The breach included highly confidential information which, placed in the wrong hands, could have significant consequences, including identity theft or other fraudulent activities resulting in significant financial losses. Equiniti had a duty to protect this information and should be held accountable for their failure to do so. They should compensate victims fairly.”

Due to privacy concerns emanating from the case, the Judge has ordered that the names of the claimants be kept confidential. As one of the affected individuals commented. “Knowing that my personal information may potentially be used to defraud me or others is deeply troubling.”

Looks like the next storyline for Jed Mercurio.

Righteous Pensions

Talking about pensions, the Treasury committee has recently published an unanimously agreed report which calls for environmental, social and governance (ESG) regulations for smaller pension schemes. Great idea but how practicable is it?

“From our experience trustees of smaller schemes which are not in distress situations are engaged and interested in ESG and keen to do their part, “ says Jane Kola, Partner at specialist pensions law firm Arc Pensions Law. “The challenge they face is how to do this cost effectively and how to influence change.”

The problem is that, as of now, there are no common standards and no benchmarks to work with. And, not surprisingly given current market conditions, small schemes do not have the resources to create that metric for themselves. So the answer?

The larger schemes taking the lead should help smaller schemes comply in future years but only so long as that thinking does trickle down,” suggests Kola. “If not then a great deal of time and money will be wasted in compliance that could have been spent more wisely in promoting material and lasting change.”

Umm. Definitely one to think about.

Just Doing the Right Thing

Every law firm wants to claim the moral high ground these days setting out their values and explaining how they are making the world a better place .

 The way Reed Smith puts it is, “At Reed Smith, we strive to always ‘do the right thing’. Being a responsible business is vitally important to us. It is central to our core values: integrity – excellence – teamwork and respect – innovation – impact.”

To see how they do it take a look at their  2020 Responsible Business Report,

LEGAL COMMENT OF THE WEEK

THE POST OFFICE SCANDAL: THE BEGINNING OF THE END?

The long arm of the law – Will it catch the REAL culprits?

The appalling abuses perpetrated by the Post Office on its sub-postmasters and mistresses have been called – officially – “An affront to the public conscience.” However, just a single member of the PO’s top brass resigning as a minister of the Anglican Church does not quite to reflect the gravity of the offences. Here Nick Gould examines some of the key questions still to be answered.

Last week at the Royal Courts of Justice, the tide finally turned in the Post Office Scandal. Having waited, in some cases more than 15 years, 39 Appellants had their convictions for fraud, theft and dishonesty overturned by the Court of Appeal.

The detailed judgement made it clear what the judges thought about the behaviour of the Post Office and individuals involved with it and with Fujitsu which operated the discredited Horizon IT system.

As lone voices (but with full support of their clients) in pushing for so called “limb 2”, barristers Paul Marshall and Flora Page developed the rarely used argument that these convictions were “an affront to the public conscience” – something that the Court accepted in its final judgment.

These Appeals are over, but there are many more to come and numerous other issues and questions to be addressed. These include notably:

– what was the basis of the advice given by various legal advisors to the Post Office over many years

– how can the non-disclosure of key documents and information be accounted for?

[On these points the SRA is now, apparently, gathering information].

– hundreds more postmasters wait for their convictions/ prosecutions to be overturned; how long will this now take?

– what about the compensation for all those whose lives were destroyed? When will it come? An immediate and unconditional interim payment for each Appellant is surely the right thing to do.

– there have been numerous calls for a powerful judge-led enquiry; the current enquiry set up by BEIS (which essentially owns the Post Office) is limited in its scope. Something more credible and comprehensive is required. When will it happen?

– who was responsible, ultimately, for corporate governance during this sorry saga, which apparently was about ‘Protecting the brand’. It ended up doing the exact reverse.

So there was indeed a massive miscarriage of justice. It has discredited the legal profession and the criminal justice system in the eyes of thousands of people. It should never be allowed to happen again (but, of course, it will). As Seema Misra, one of the victims, said, “If this could happen to me, it could happen to anyone.” [Well, not quite anyone, one suspects].

 Nick Gould, partner at Aria Grace Law, was part of the team who advised three of the falsely accused.

SPECIAL REPORT OF THE WEEK – SUIT YOURSELF?

Here, there, anywhere or everywhere – where works best? And for whom?

‘How come the boss doesn’t invite me down the pub anymore?’
(That’s the cat speaking obviously)

One of the biggest law firms in the world, Clifford Chance, has just announced that by the end of June its UK partners will be allowed to work remotely for up to half the week. Other law firms are following suit with variations on this theme. Notionally it is one of the benefits of the Covid crisis that bosses have started to think the unthinkable and operate their businesses in a more flexible way which better suits the needs of ALL their diverse people.

How exactly it will play out remains to be seen. But one of the major anxieties should be that there are now completely conflicting claims made for remote working especially regarding those believed to be disadvantaged in the race for career advancement. Some suggest that it will be good for them. Others maintain that it will disadvantage them even further. Here are the two arguments as advanced in the past few days:

UK firms choose hybrid working model to increase access to skills

According to the quarterly FSSC Pulse Survey conducted in February and March this year, long-term remote working is expected to have a positive impact on access to skills. 40% of respondents reported it will improve staff retention, with another 40% expecting flexible working to widen existing talent pools. 20% thought it will boost staff productivity.

Remote working has significantly improved employee training and collaboration, bringing people from across sites together and creating content that can be re-watched. Commenting on the survey results, Claire Tunley, CEO Financial Services Skills Commissionsaid“As lockdown lifts, organisations are offering flexible working options which they believe will improve access to skills and boost productivity and competitiveness. Employers see this as an opportunity to improve staff retention and significantly widen existing talent pools.

Hybrid working could lead to discrimination and lack of diversity

OE Cam, a firm of business psychologists, is urging businesses to consider the unintended impact of hybrid working.  Their modelling suggests that planned policies will likely lead to greater discrimination and a lack of diversity within organisations in the UK and offices worldwide.  The very flexibility to work from home that is being welcomed by employees, may inadvertently lead to those who choose this option suffering detrimental impacts to their careers by missing out on opportunities.

The team of organisation consultants and psychologists at OE Cam explored how businesses will be affected as they move to a hybrid working model. The formation of ‘in-groups’ and ‘out-groups’, something that has been noticed by organisations during remote working, will be even more prominent in a hybrid workforce.

‘Present privilege’ means that those in the workplace are more likely to be involved in spontaneous discussions in the office and have better access to the boss – meaning that they are more front of mind for promotion.

Those working remotely, who may potentially include greater numbers of working mothers, the disabled and minority groups, will be left at a disadvantage, finding themselves a part of the ‘out-group’. Over time this could lead to them becoming unnoticed, left without a voice, the ability to contribute or progress.

“I saw first-hand in a meeting how remote workers became disadvantaged over their physically present colleagues,” explains. Martyn Sakol, Managing Partner at OE Cam. “A team was considering a significant deal. It adjourned for a planned break. Those who were working remotely logged off to take a comfort break alone, while those in the office continued group conversations. When the meeting resumed, it became glaringly apparent that the opinions on how to shape the deal had changed amongst the office-based team; their new stance did not reflect conversations that had included any remote participants. It was apparent at this point that the implications to businesses worldwide could be hugely damaging.

“The issue for any organisation now is to reduce the effects of out-groups. Businesses must be mindful of which employees are the ones most likely to wish to work remotely most of the time. Experts believe that there are certain groups this will include: those with caring responsibilities, parents (with more mums choosing, or even feeling obliged, to work remotely over dads), disabled employees – for whom the commute can be more difficult – and older generation workers, hoping to improve their work-life balance.”

So, there you have it. Not quite as cut and dried as we hoped.

APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) has appointed their existing Partner Daisy Reeves as the firm’s inaugural Inclusion & Diversity Client Relationship Partner.

Reeves will focus exclusively on collaboration and thought leadership with clients and communities on best, and next, practice in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) across BCLP’s 30 international offices. The goal, the firm says, is to “Actively shift the needle on global inclusion” so that ‘inclusion and diversity runs through all that is undertaken by BCLP’.

Daisy Reeves

Daisy has a unique understanding of both the global inclusion landscape and BCLP’s diversity platform, and we are excited to utilise Daisy’s experience as a change agent so BCLP can further collaborate with our clients, to foster inclusion wherever we do business,” said BCLP Co-Chairs Lisa Mayhew and Steve Baumer.

Kennedys has appointed Nathan Buckley as a regulatory partner in its Manchester office and as part of the firm’s 20 strong national regulatory team. Formerly at Clyde & Co. Buckley specialises in regulatory defence work, particularly corporate manslaughter/gross negligence manslaughter, health and safety, environment and motor crime investigations and prosecutions, together with inquests across all industries.

Nick Thomas, senior partner at Kennedys commented: “Our growth is always led by client demand and need. We have recently enjoyed significant expansion in the North following the opening of our new office in Leeds and the move to our new larger premises in Manchester,Nathan’s expertise will help to establish a hub in Manchester with a view to growing our regulatory team’s work in that area.”

E-VENTS

Worth a watch

The Virtual Conference for UK-Africa legal services under the auspices of the Ministry of Justice and featuring Andrew Skipper of Hogan Lovells in conversation with a group of experienced GC’s who know the African client scene well.

Go to https://youtu.be/jmal0n4xd_w

For background go to Virtual conference for UK-Africa legal services – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk),

AND FINALLY PARLEZ-VOUS?

The Legal Diary is delighted that it has a cosmopolitan readership for whom no European language represents a barrier (although, embarrassingly, super-strength Scouse is occasionally a problem to the editorial team). So we are delighted to alert you to an ‘en ligne’ conference hosted by

LINKLATERS

Le cabinet Linklaters tiendra une conférence en ligne détaillant comment les autorités de concurrence intègrent les critères environnementaux et de développement durable :

Prise en compte des aspects environnementaux par les autorités de concurrence Avec Charlotte Colin-Dubuisson, associée    Mardi 4 mai 2021 11h00 à 12h00 (CET)   Les nombreuses discussions et publications relatives à l’articulation entre le droit de la concurrence et le développement durable (projet de lignes directrices au Pays Bas, fiche informative au Royaume-Uni, consultation de la Commission européenne) attestent de l’importance de ce sujet pour les autorités de concurrence en Europe. Si les autorités reconnaissent que les règles de concurrence ne devraient pas faire obstacle aux objectifs environnementaux et de développement durable, elles précisent néanmoins que la poursuite de tels objectifs ne saurait permettre aux entreprises de s’affranchir de ces règles.   Cette session sera l’occasion de revenir sur les discussions récentes en matière de coopérations « vertes » entre concurrents mais également sur la prise en compte par les autorités de concurrence du développement durable et des critères environnementaux dans l’analyse en matière de contrôle des concentrations.

S’inscrire

 
 

Afin de recevoir le lien de connexion, vous pouvez vous inscrire avec le lien ci-dessus ou par retour de mail.

Cordialement, Laurence Bault Directrice Conseil

ENJOY THE BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND. UNTIL NEXT WEEK!

Edward Fennell’s LEGAL DIARY

Friday April 23 2021 Edition 54

Diary news, commentary, insights, appointments and

e-vents from the legal world

SHORT THOUGHT OF THE WEEK

– DEFINITELY OFFSIDE

Detached observers might find it baffling that in a week otherwise dominated by the George Floyd trial, the re-booting of US policy on climate change and suggestions of Whitehall sleaze, that it was the announcement of a new football competition which led the headlines in both print and broadcast media.

The reason, perhaps, was that the ESL controversy was so freighted with other concerns – from globalisation to elite entitlement and the Americanisation of European traditions – that it touched even people with no direct interest in football (let alone soccer).

Law firms from both sides of the Atlantic – along with the bankers – had already been lined up to drive through the necessary changes. And there are, oddly, other connections with the legal world. Do the five (or is it six?) firms which make up the Magic Circle consider themselves candidates for the European Super League of lawyers? Or have we already reached the point where US firms are now so active across London, Europe and the World that the Magic Circle ascription no longer means much?

This is borne out by the fact that Linklaters alone from the Magic Circle is numbered among the eight law firms (mostly American) backing the newly-launched (see below) Windrush Pro Bono Clinic. In short, has the Magic Circle now been relegated?

The LegalDiarist

The Legal Diary welcomes your news, insights and comment. Please send direct to

fennell.edward@yahoo.com

IN THIS WEEK’S EDITION

+ THE LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

– Stopping climate change legally

– Advice for Windrush victims

– More Sit-Ups in Court

‘And Death came rattling’

+ SPECIAL REPORT OF THE WEEK :THIS WEEK’S FOOTBALL RESULTS

+ LEGAL COMMENT OF THE WEEK: FILIAL IMPIETY

+ APPOINTMENT OF THE WEEK: Faegre Drinker

+ E-VENTS

THE LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

STOP PRESS!! Names of improperly convicted Sub-Postmasters have been cleared – more next week!

Stopping Climate Change legally

Going green? Image courtesy of the EC

With all the interest this week (as every week) in climate change – and Joe Biden’s enthusiasm for the upcoming meeting in Glaws-cow – all self-respecting lawyers must be asking themselves ‘not what climate change can do for me but what can I do to halt climate change’.


Well, the new Chancery Lane Project, sponsored by Thomson Reuters Legal, might have a few answers. As a ‘focused and collaborative effort of lawyers from around the world to develop new contracts and model laws to help fight climate change’ the CLP has brought together a range of model clauses and laws designed to bake anti-climate change measures into legal systems globally. “TCLP is an incredible collaborative effort whereby we can make a real difference to tackle climate change through what we do daily, i.e. drafting.” said Chirag Rao, a Senior Associate at Howard Kennedy.

Although there are already almost 700 lawyers participating in the project there is still room for more people who want to get involved in the process of creating off-the-shelf eco-friendly laws and regulations.

Examples of these new legal contracts include:

  • Incentive mechanisms to encourage sustainable practices within supply chain contracts with the aim of reducing emissions.
  • Introducing clauses into employment contracts requiring employers to offer employees the chance to participate in climate change awareness training.
  • Eco friendly “Cooler plate” (boilerplate) clauses that aim to embed climate issues and Net Zero Targets in the entire contract so these flow into the contract management and commercial lifestyle. 

“This pro bono initiative encourages corporations to contribute positively to the environment by introducing those ‘green-friendly’ clauses into contracts,” say the organizers.

To find out more go to https://chancerylaneproject.org/.

Eight just law firms act for ‘Windrush victims’

Happy arrival?

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, Charles Russell Speechlys, Debevoise & Plimpton, Dechert, Latham & Watkins, Linklaters, Taylor Wessing and White & Case have come together with the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) to offer free legal advice to those eligible for the government’s Windrush Compensation Scheme. This follows a disappointingly low number of applicants as a result, it is believed, of inadequate legal support in navigating the complex application process. .

The Windrush Compensation Scheme was set up in 2019 following the Windrush scandal, which broke in 2018 when it emerged that despite living and working in the UK for decades many of the “Windrush generation” and their family members, including children and grandchildren, were told that they were illegally living in the UK. As a consequence they were wrongly detained, deported and denied legal rights.

The JCWI initiative has now been established to assist individuals affected by the Windrush scandal in submitting their applications, assessing the resulting decision and appealing it if necessary.

“Two years on from the introduction of the Windrush Compensation scheme, it is woefully inadequate that so few people have been able to apply for compensation,” said Nicola Burgess, Legal Director at the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants. “The Home Office promised that the people affected would have justice, but they continue to be failed by the government. The scheme is designed in a way which bars them from the support they are entitled to and deserve. We hope that this initiative goes some way to support the Windrush generation, but it’s clear that victims need legal aid and a system which works in their favour, not against them.”

More Sit-Ups in Court

Court in the act

At last Government is doing some exercises to relieve the massive clogging up of the court systems. As widely reported yesterday the Ministry of Justice is to remove the limit on the number of sitting days in the Crown Courts in order to tackle the backlog. But, of course, the problem long pre-dates Covid.

“This is a cause we’ve been campaigning for, publicly and in discussions with the Ministry of Justice, since 2019 when we opposed the government’s decision to cut sitting days,” said Derek Sweeting QC, Chair of the Bar Council. “The criminal justice system has been paying the price ever since, with the backlog of cases in the Crown Courts mounting. Victims, witnesses and defendants should not have to endure long delays before their cases reach court.

“Whilst this is a positive step towards tackling the backlog, as are the expected additional sitting days in civil jurisdictions, it will only prove effective if it is matched by sufficient court staff and resources to support the anticipated rise in cases going through the Crown Court. It will require that the  existing court estate is used to its maximum capacity together with the continued and increased use of Nightingale courts. It must be accompanied by a long-term strategy, not confined to the pandemic period.”

So building back better? Well, a bit better anyway.

And Death came rattling’

Peace at last – and then they open the will

British people mostly avoid the facts of life – and, even more so. death.

So it’s no great surprise that there is little discussion within families about what happens post-mortem. Indeed, according to a national survey by Ampla Finance 44% of Brits have not discussed financial arrangements with parents or partners in the event of their deaths And even during this pandemic only 12% have reviewed their will or funeral arrangements.

The result is that many families find themselves cast, unprepared, into the probate process when death does come to call. “The UK probate system is notoriously complicated and increasingly slow-moving,” commented Steve Gauke, Head of Partnerships at Ampla Finance. “Unforeseen delays can badly impact a family’s financial planning, so we need greater education around probate and to encourage a frank conversation on family finances, even though we know it’s difficult.”

What’s required, says Gauke, is a call-to-action for people to face up to death and deal with the legal implications in advance. “We are pleased to have started a productive conversation on what has long been perceived as a taboo topic in the UK, and underscored the importance of initiating these sensitive discussions to save further stress at an already testing time for families,” added Louise Hall, Commercial Director at Ampla Finance

The full report ‘It’s time to talk’ is available to view https://amplafinancelegal.wordpress.com/2021/04/21/wills-and-financial-planning-its-time-to-talk/

SPECIAL LEGAL REPORT OF THE WEEK

THIS WEEK’S FOOTBALL RESULTS

– NO MATCH OF THE DAY

Warrants a good kicking

Not so much ‘a game of two halfs’ but more a mash-up of half-wits – that’s been the farcical story of the European Super League this week.And here is what our legal pundits in the commentary box had to say:

STEPHEN TAYLOR HEATH, Head of Sports Law and Partner at JMW Solicitors, commenting at half time.

 “It is interesting because the statement last night suggested that the founders believed they could create this league without it affecting the domestic leagues but this letter suggests they regard FIFA and UEFA as the aggressors in seeking to prevent the league forming.

In essence this is football’s Brexit moment. From a legal perspective, their main issues will be around broadcasting rights and commercial opportunities. TV contracts will have certain conditions requiring participation of the top teams. That will be the dilemma for domestic leagues as to whether this was a “hard Brexit” or “soft Brexit” type scenario.

The outcry around top teams not earning their place from performance in domestic leagues has happened before in some sports which have from time to time suspended relegation such as Rugby for economic reasons and American Football for example does not have relegation.

It also raises questions around governance – government intervention could be seen as inappropriate unless it’s in the context of anti-competitive practices. The inevitable consequence of the rich getting richer and the poorer getting poorer is the extinction of the grass roots game and the loss of a good many clubs whose identity is tied to its local community as well as the unemployment of a significant number of pro and semi-pro players.”

 And commenting after the final whistle, JAMES EARL, Partner and Head of the Sports Business Group at Fladgate,

“Although the ESL in its proposed form has been stopped dead in its tracks, this saga will continue to raise important questions about the future of European football and what the right balance of multiple competing interests should be. It is important to remember that long-term issues around the distribution of wealth in the domestic and international football pyramids existed well before the ESL (and similar proposals) arose and these will very much remain an issue which needs to be dealt with despite the ESL’s almost immediate demise.

Clearly, the ‘closed shop’ proposals on the table were an affront to most people’s understanding of fair sporting competition. Having said that, European football’s governing bodies are still ultimately left with the challenge of finding a model that concentrates performance and quality to generate the sporting intrigue and excitement that fans want. When it comes to the allocation of rights and revenues, the difficulty remains finding a solution that reflects the considerable value that the biggest teams can, and do, deliver.”

AND IN EXTRA TIME – THE SPECIAL ONE IS SENT OFF (AGAIN)

Maybe needs a new title?

After spending a short training session (as usual) annoying hard-working footballers on the pitch, Jose Mourinho has been once again been told his services are no longer required.

“In January 2021, we wrote about Frank Lampard’s departure from Chelsea Football Club in very similar circumstances,” comments jointly Jonathan Metliss, Rachel Lester and Alex Huston, the hard-tackling back three atAxiom Stone Solicitors. “As with Lampard, Mourinho would fail to meet the necessary two-year period of service to bring a claim for unfair dismissal as his employment with Tottenham only lasted 17 months with his contract due to expire at the end of the 2022-2023 season.

“Mourinho has made substantial sums of money from departing various clubs – reportedly in the region of £77.5 million. The dismissing clubs have paid these significant sums because, failing to, would leave themselves open to a claim for breach of the unexpired fixed term of the manager’s contract. Depending on the bargaining power of the respective parties, clubs and managers can agree contractual provisions that mitigate the effect of the potentially costly claims for the unexpired portion of the contract.

“Mourinho has indicated that he intends to stay in football and that he does not need a break from the sport. It will therefore be interesting to see where he gets his next contract.”

MEANWHILE IN ANOTHER LEAGUE

Ipswich Town would be an ideal drop zone for Mr Mourinho, suggests our mischievous Sports Editor. After all, she points out, back-in-the-day the formerly triumphant IPSWICH was managed by Mourinho’s mentor Bobby Robson – and it has just been sold to American investment fund ORG (which no doubt has masses of money to splash out on a fancy new manager and zillion dollar glamour contracts).

In their time Ipswich would certainly have been top candidates for ESL status – but the whirligig of success soon left them behind and they dropped into the lower leagues. But now, thanks to law firm Lee & Thompson who advised Marcus Evans, owner of the team for the past thirteen years, they may be heading for the good times again. “The sale signals a major phase of investment into the League One club as it sets its sights on promotion and committing to substantial investment in both the club’s playing squad and infrastructure,” said the accompanying press release. Who knows, Ipswich might be one of the contenders for the next ESL proposal when it resurfaces a decade hence. [Some hope, says our Norwich-supporting Sports editor] 

LEGAL COMMENT OF THE WEEK

FILIAL IMPIETY?

Following the award this week of  £75m to Tatiana Akhmedova from her son Temur as part of the extraordinary divorce battle with her former husband Farkhad Akhmedov. Henry Hood, Partner and Head of the Family department at Hunters Law, comments:


In the latest round of the Akhmedova divorce litigation, the High Court has continued to find in Tatiana’s favour with Knowles J finding for her against her son just as Haddon-Cave J (as he then was) had found for her against her husband. She has not had such luck against her husband in jurisdictions where his assets were actually situated, particularly in Dubai, and to this point the only asset she has got her hands on has been a helicopter, the value of which to her proceedings must now be very stretched.

However, things may now be different if her son has significant assets, particularly land, available for enforcement in this jurisdiction. It appears that he has had in the past. This may be a game-changer for her.”

So the saga rolls on.

APPOINTMENT OF THE WEEK at FAEGRE DRINKER

Susan Moore has joined  Faegre Drinker as a partner in the finance and restructuring practice group in the London office.

Previously at Stephenson Harwood, where she was head of the restructuring and insolvency practice, Moore will now lead on high-profile cross-border and domestic restructurings and corporate insolvencies. She is a former member of the Insolvency Rules Committee, a body that gives recommendations to the U.K. Lord Chancellor in connection with secondary insolvency legislation.

“Sue is a remarkable talent who has served clients in some of the world’s most high-stakes and precedent setting restructurings and insolvencies,” said finance and restructuring practice group leader Mike Stewart. “Her addition strengthens our practice’s international capabilities and our commitment to providing clients with the most sophisticated guidance in the market.”

E-VENTS

Transformation, Trust and the Data Driven Legal Department

The Corporate Counsel and Compliance Exchange 2021 will be held on the 5th and 6th May and we would love you to be there!
The event will bring together General Counsels, Chief Compliance Officers and Senior Legal Leaders who are all actively responsible for developing practical strategies and solutions to drive efficiency, embed ethics and enable growth within in-house functions.


** Highlights for Day 1 – 5th May 2021**


12:05 pm – Embedding A Sound Company Culture Of Compliance To Add Greater Value To Your Legal Department
Zoe O’Sullivan, Head of Legal,
Southampton FC
Mitzi Berberi, Legal Director – Western & Southern Europe,
Uber
Mathieu Savaris, Former General Counsel, Western Europe,
GE Power


12:50pm – The move to Holistic Due Diligence
Andrew Henderson, Head of Due Diligence Proposition,
London Stock Exchange Group



3pm – Transformation, Trust and the Data Driven Legal Department
Bernadette Bulacan, Vice President – Evangelism



4pm – Building An Early Warning System To Engage Stakeholders And Manage Future Risk
Bea Miyamoto, General Counsel
, Panasonic


4:40pm – Adjusting Strategy in 2020: Exploring How Company’s Pivoted Throughout the Pandemic to Best Protect Their Businesses
Georgina McManus, Global General Counsel
, Manolo Blahnik
Sharon Blackman, Managing Director & General Counsel
, Citi
Wayne Spillett, Head of Legal, Commercial Operations and IP,
Vodafone Group
Anita Adam, Regional Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs,
Molson Coors
To request an invitation go to:

https://www.iqpc.com/events-corporate-counsel-and-compliance-exchange-uk/downloads/request-an-invitation

Have a great Friday night and, if you find the LEGAL DIARY amusing, please help us grow the audience by forwarding it to a friend or colleague!

Edward Fennell’s LEGAL DIARY

Friday 16th April 2021 Edition 53

Diary news, commentary, insights, appointments and

e-vents from the legal world

SHORT THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK:

What lies through the wood?

A clear, straight path ahead?

There’s a school of thought which believes that the past year has marked the transition from the 75 year ‘Post war era’ into a new ‘Post Covid era’.

Certainly, as the UK moves out of lockdown, there is a feeling of a new start. And that was borne out this morning by the announcement from Clyde & Co. that it is to vacate its space in Beaufort House and, as Chief Executive Officer Matthew Kelsall put it, “Look holistically at all our working practices to ensure they are as effective as possible for the firm and our people.”

Quite what role lawyers will have in this new era and how they will perform is now an open question. The ‘State of the UK Legal Market 2021’ report, published this week (see below) by the Thomson Reuters Institute gives some clues. However, one only has to looks at that is happening in India and Brazil and even Japan to recognise that the world is not out of the covid covert yet. There is still a long way to go – in a global economy – and maybe some unexpected twists and turns in the path ahead before we can see clearly how it will all shape up.

The LegalDiarist

PLEASE SEND YOUR NEWS, VIEWS, STORIES AND COMMENTS FOR NEXT WEEK TO

fennell.edward@yahoo.com

In this week’s edition

+LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

– Great Technology + Savvy Relationships = Satisfied Clients

Happy Coexistence?

Something to look out for next Friday

Is Lugano a No-No?

Media Coup by Agency Captures BBC Legal Guru

+ SPECIAL REPORT OF THE WEEK: SO WHAT DID YOU DO DURING COVID?

+ STUDENTS PIONEER NEW VIRTUAL WORLD

+ APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK

McCarthy Denning and Stokoe Partnership

LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

Great Technology + Savvy Relationships = Satisfied Clients

The State of the UK Legal Market 2021 report, published this week by the Thomson Reuters Institute (TRI) threw up two big complementary findings. But if you were a law firm managing partner you would be forgiven for sighing that some clients are just never satisfied.

In a nutshell, the report stated that clients want a combination of fantastic, cost-cutting innovative technology-based services. Well fair enough. you might say. But, on top of that, they also want highly attentive, charming, personal service based on long-term relationships. In the words of the release from TRI, “The report found that strong client-firm relationships are increasingly important, especially when a firm invests the time to thoroughly understand a client’s operations and business strategies, and views the relationship as more of a business partnership. Nearly half of corporates (47%) state that the main way firms can bring more value is to commit to a longer-term partnership.”

Meanwhile though, “89% of corporates believe their firms should be looking to explore more innovative ways to use technology.”

Of course, in an ideal world better technology would be a money saver enabling firms to devote more human resource to developing those relationships and improving understanding of clients’ businesses. Great people and great technology. That’s the recipe for success. But who can afford it?

The State of the UK Legal Market 2021 report can be downloaded at: bit.ly/UKSOLM2021

Happy Coexistence? Or too many hungry IP caterpillars?

Who are you calling a fatcat?

The LegalDiarist has always suspected that the true intellectual titans of the legal world are to be found in the groves of IP (well the title ‘intellectual property’ is the giveaway, isn’t it?). And that view was confirmed just yesterday on BBC Radio4 by a forensic analysis of the mouthwatering IP contest in the High Court between M&S’s Colin the Caterpillar and his deadly rival, Cuthbert, from the other side of the tracks at Aldi.

Space does not allow, unfortunately, for us to serve up the various complex and detailed arguments but it certainly illustrated why being an IP lawyer is no cake walk.

All of which is an appetiser for the announcement that M&S, one of that elite group of dedicated IP specialists, is launching a new commercial IP services outfit to focus on ‘valuation services’. (No, not Marks & Spencer; this M&S is Mathys & Squire – yes, IP is complicated but do keep up).

All of which follows the acquisition some four years ago by M&S of IP consulting firm Coller IP. Having been co-habiting happily – unlike Colin and Cuthbert, it must be said – the two firms have developed their relationship to a point at which their legal and commercial services fit ‘seamlessly together’.

“We are proud to be able to offer our existing and prospective clients the full range of commercial IP advice and services they need to help their business grow under the Mathys & Squire umbrella,” said partner Alan MacDougall . “Being part of the innovation environment means we are always seeking to identify innovative ways of enhancing our range of services to clients and help them manage all IP aspects of their businesses.”

Yes, but can they persuade Colin and Cuthbert to make up and play nice? And will Mathys & Squire’s next venture be a butterfly cake?

Something to look out for next Friday

On 23rd April the Court of Appeal, Criminal Division – in the final act of an extended drama – will give its judgement regarding more than 40 appeals relating to  the “Post Office Scandal”. These Appeals are by sub-postmasters who, over a 13 year period from 2000, were convicted quite wrongly of theft, fraud or false accounting. In nearly all of the cases, Post Office did not contest the appeals because it accepted that evidence in its original private prosecutions was incomplete and that the Horizon system’s faults were not disclosed to judges and juries.

Unfortunately, the Post Office in its warped wisdom has mostly denied that it was wrong to have prosecuted in the first place. Some might think that this is a model exercise in the higher arts of casuistry. It doesn’t do much for the public image of lawyers either. Fortunately though some key lawyers could not stand aside and let the scandal roll on unchallenged. But it has been a long journey. For example, in the case of Aria Grace Law’s three clients no less than a total of 44 years have been wasted in waiting for the appeals heard. Let us hope next week brings this miserable saga to an end.

Is Lugano a No-No?

Will they, won’t they? One of the key questions facing the UK in the post-Brexit world is whether the EU will permit the UK to join the Lugano Convention. This could be a vital development in normalising commercial life because the convention allows legal judgments to be enforced across borders, with all EU countries plus Norway, Switzerland and Iceland members of the pact.But the weight of expectation swings back and forth. Not so long ago Paul Chaplin, counsel at Hogan Lovells’ Litigation, Arbitration and Employment practice reckoned that the Europen Commission would endorse the UK’s accession to the Convention. “This is very welcome news for businesses both sides of the English Channel,” he said. “The UK Government had been lobbying hard in various European capitals and these noteworthy efforts appear to have paid off.”

But since then the suggestion, rather more strongly, is that EU will oppose the UK application to join the convention on the grounds that it is not a member of the European Economic Area or the European Free Trade Association. Like many other EU-related matters (not least trade via N. Ireland) it all seems a confused, arbitrary muddle. But what it illustrates is the difficulty of being a lawyer advising on these matters right now.

Media Coup by Agency

Clive Coleman - After Dinner Speakers | Speakers Corner
So here’s the story from Clive Coleman

Marcel Berlins, Joshua Rozenberg, Frances Gibb – all the great names of legal journalism become part of national life and the on-going debate about law in this country. And alongside them, of course, is Clive Coleman, the BBC legal affairs correspondent for 16 years, who has now departed the Corporation to join Maltin PR, one of the top-rated legal and litigation PR agencies, as a consultant.

Interpreting complicated legal matters at speed to a general audience is always demanding but Coleman did it with unfussy, exemplary skill across the biggest stories from the Hillsborough tragedy inquests to the Supreme Court’s 2019 decision on the prorogation of Parliament.

And speaking personally from having had the pleasure of Coleman’s company on various occasions at press conferences and awards events, the LegalDiarist knows what a good egg he is. Clive’s qualifications as a barrister and broadcaster, as well as a legal news expert, make him the perfect fit for Maltin,” said Tim Maltin, the agency’s Founder and Chief Executive.

SPECIAL REPORT OF THE WEEK

SO WHAT DID YOU DO DURING COVID?

The Masked Lawyer

Image courtesy of Hackensack Meridian Health

The lid might be lifting but many clients are licking their wounds and wondering how they survived the past year. Law firms have helped get them through – as these examples show.

ALL ROUND ADVICE

“Our agile operating model meant we were well prepared to support our clients on all fronts during these unprecedented times,” says George Bisnought, managing director of Excello Law.

“Our employment team have advised clients on a range of claims including unfair dismissal claims tied to furlough, health and safety issues whereby staff were required to work on site as opposed to home, and the implementation of furlough schemes and the various changes to these, often with real time issues arising before any government guidance was issued.

“Our family law team supported their clients through some of the most stressful periods they will experience, and our practices have had to become even more flexible and tailored to each individual to ensure access to justice. Some of our clients have seen their incomes drastically reduced and had to negotiate changes in financial arrangements, and others have had issues with interim maintenance where ex-spouses have claimed a reduction in earnings due to the pandemic. Our lawyers have had to navigate clients through these shifting waters and often adapt on short notice, whilst also adjusting to the changing work practices of the courts; many applications are now being dealt with online, more hearings taking place by telephone and via video conference, and an increase in advocacy as it can be more cost effective.

“On the commercial side we found many clients requiring advice in relation to the various financial support packages made available to companies across the nation. Our lawyers have helped clients analyse what they will be eligible for and whether they might be able to apply for loans under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme or the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme, as well as participate in The Future Fund. We also have clients who now require assistance understanding the new Recovery Loan Scheme.” Pensions Problems —— “Some employer clients needed to protect their own financial security and several considered lowering employer pension scheme contributions,” explains  Danyal Enver, associate at pensions law firm Arc Pensions Law. “We provided urgent and pragmatic advice on what temporary action they could take to swiftly lower contributions, and what to communicate to employees. We fully expect those contribution rates to rise again as the market stabilises post-pandemic.”  “During the pandemic, trustee clients had difficulties in lockdown as many necessary scheme changes required deeds to be executed and witnessed in person. We took a pragmatic approach to help. For example, pre-pandemic we would have advised against family members witnessing signatures, but due to the challenges presented by the pandemic we had to revisit the law and decide what our clients feasibly could do in their households while still complying with the legislation.”

AND WHAT ABOUT LAW FIRMS THEMSELVES?

The legal industry has been one of the few sectors that has partly benefited from the pandemic. Many of the cuts, furloughs and redundancies we saw last year were precautionary as opposed to necessary, says SOMAYA OUAZZANI, Founder and CEO of specialist legal executive search firm Mimoza Fleur.

The slick and smart firms have exploited the situation to capitalise on strategic lateral hires in the form of partners and senior associates. A lot of the legal industry’s national law firms lost nervous teams to firms with strong buying power – American firms played this well, as did the likes of Stewarts, Taylor Wessing and Howard Kennedy

Firms have become more prepared to offer partners greater control over their personal lives and more autonomy in their careers. So, providing fee earners are billing well, consistently and originating their own work, they can essentially wrangle for whatever it is that’s important to them. This has revolutionised the legal industry and will hopefully help to improve diversity and inclusivity. 

Senior non-partner lawyers have also done well out of this. They’ve been able to leverage their experience and relative affordability to secure ‘Day One’ partner roles sooner than they might have at their existing firms.

Media, sports and private wealth are hot areas right now. Attracting more affordable senior non-partners (with fertile and well cultivated networks) is a strategy a lot of my clients are wanting to deploy having seen it work in other sectors for a diverse range of firms including Hogan Lovells, Payne Hicks Beach, and Kirkland & Ellis

Ultimately, the legal industry has weathered this very aggressive Covid storm extremely well. Those firms with forward thinking, ambitious mind sets have fared the best, as have those with healthy cash reserves, good cash collections and sophisticated non legal operational input and frameworks. The shorter sighted firms resisted advice against losing support staff, the outcome of which is overstretched fee earners. Others gave up their premises or massively downsized prematurely.

AND LOOKING AHEAD FROM THIS WEEK– A REMINDER from PROFESSOR ALASTAIR HODGE, barrister, 5 ESSEX COURT

Alastair Hodge

12th April was potentially, a day like any other. For some, it was a birthday – such as the playwright, Alan Ayckbourn. But 12th April 2021 will be remembered for an altogether different reason – the second key date in Prime Minister Johnson’s “roadmap” out of lockdown.

The day on which in England:

  • Pubs & restaurants were allowed to open outdoors.
  • Non-essential retail, including clothes shops, reopened.
  • Hairdressers and nail salons got the green light to trade.
  • Theme parks, zoos, gyms & leisure centres threw open their doors.

However, whilst many businesses no doubt leapt for joy, they still remained subject to onerous, complex and, at times, unintelligible Government guidance on what they could and could not do.

For example, we know that pubs & restaurants will be allowed to serve food and alcohol outdoors. Unlike the period of lockdown at the end of 2020, there is no longer the requirement for “a substantial meal” to be consumed; nor is there any 22.00 hrs curfew. However, the rule of six will apply (up to six people, or two separate households) as will social distancing rules. Face coverings must be worn when not seated.

In terms of non-essential retail and other businesses, social distancing must be observed. Face coverings are mandatory for anyone who is not exempt.

In order to comply with the law & guidance, a Covid-19 risk assessment is essential (save for those businesses with fewer than five employees). This will enable businesses to identify potential health & safety hazards; ensure that hand sanitisation and hand washing facilities are readily available; encourage social distancing with appropriate signage; and limiting the potential for transmission of the virus.

Putting such measures in place at the earliest opportunity is advisable, thereby allowing businesses to focus on profitability, rather than worrying about being penalised and/or fined for non-compliance with the law.

So, no room for relaxing just yet.

+ STUDENTS PIONEER NEW WORLD:

JUMP STARTING LEGAL CAREERS UNDER COVID

For students exploring legal careers and those just starting on the career ladder these are weird times. Here we have two perspectives from the new virtual world of ‘insight events’ and the first few weeks of work with a major law firm.

FINDING OUT ABOUT LEGAL CAREERS VIRTUALLY

Legal ‘career insight ‘events in a virtual world are more than just a fad – they’re here to stay and worth embracing, argues INDERPREET MATHARU, second year law undergraduate at Nottingham Trent University

Inderpreet Matharu

Although virtual legal career events have been set up as a response to the Pandemic, they still offer a highly engaging snapshot into the operations of a successful law firm.

And if the 7000-plus attending Browne Jacobson and Young Professionals’ first two day virtual event under the firm’s FAIRE initiative (Fairer Access Into Real Experience) over Easter is anything to go by, they are likely to remain a firm fixture in any law firm’s calendar post pandemic.

The numbers attending can appear daunting at first but, similar to any career or networking event – virtual or not – you only get what you put in. Preparation is paramount so treat it just like a job interview. And don’t be late!

Make sure your research beforehand puts you in a strong position to ask insightful and specific questions that will help you get information to bolster your application

In doing so go beyond the firm’s website and look on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to see what the firm is saying and doing.

It is also important to have a different strategy for “working the room” if you get the chance. Make sure you register for any relevant workshops and streams or speeches well in advance.


Making a connection is understandably more challenging so use social media platforms such as LinkedIn post event to connect with attendees and speakers.Most people using LinkedIn ask to connect and then never reach out again – be the one that does!

Post-Pandemic may see us return to the “normal” in-person legal career event we are so used to but the virtual world is unquestionably here to stay and worth getting up close and personal with.

GETTING STARTED AT WORK

Research from Ezra, a provider of digital coaching, has revealed that a fifth of UK workers feel they get less recognition within their career as a direct result of working remotely.But many law firms are adjusting successfully to the new normal. Here EMILY GREATRIX, Paralegal, M&A, Corp Finance and Private Equity at Osborne Clarke LLP describes her experience.

Emily Greatrix

Merely fourteen months ago, I attended a face-to-face panel event looking at the biggest potential disruptors to the legal industry over the next five years. It’s amusing in hindsight, because the discussion focused on tech and the green economy; remote working was simply a star in the sky. Fast forward and, like the majority of the country, I now study and work entirely remotely.

My virtual education experience came when I started the LPC LLM. By nature, the course is a practical one and a vital element of an aspiring solicitor’s route to entry. So whilst the technical side of joining an online call has been straightforward in the context of learning, for example, the skill of client interviewing, I’ve had to rely on imagination and commercial experience. On this point, I think institutions should consider incorporating teaching on areas such as how to deliver remote client care, in order to reflect the changing times and future of hybrid working.

On the professional side, I think the best firms will stand out for how they prepare new joiners to virtually build relationships and support clients as well. I recently joined Osborne Clarke, as a full-time Corporate Paralegal, working remotely 9-5. Despite the fact I would have loved to start my career in the bustling Temple Quay office in Bristol, joining virtually has been nothing but a smooth and supported process. The training has been intricate yet manageable. My relationship with my line manager has been entirely virtual, but we have frequent catch up calls, including a video call on my first day, and I know I can always pick up the phone if needed. Since the lockdown started, they’ve also had a programme of virtual events to support networking and engaging with colleagues. I’m certain that my positive experience can be attributed to the firm’s kind culture; a huge part of my attraction in the first place. The question of when I might be able to go to the office is one that is still in development, but I’m hoping I will get to try an infamous OC bacon butty by the Summer.

 Emily Greatrix gained a First Class Degree in Law at the University of the West of England (Bristol) before joining Osborne Clarke LLP

APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK

McCarthy Denning, one of the first ‘next generation’ City law firms, has recruited Soulla Berger as a partner in its international hospitality practice.

Soulla Berger

Berger has had more than a decade of experience both in private practice experience at Goodwin Procter LLP and in-house with Marriott International and Four Seasons. Her expertise extends through the development, management, acquisition, disposition and financing of hotels, resorts, branded residences, and other mixed-use hospitality assets. 

At McCarthy Denning, Berger will join Partner John Sipling to advise on the contractual relationship between the ownership and brand/operator side of the industry. “I originally joined McCarthy Denning because I wanted to work in a more flexible, less bureaucratic environment, where I could focus on my clients in a creative and productive way,” said John Sipling. “It has worked brilliantly, and my practice has grown stronger and stronger. ” 

This is what attracted Soulla Berger.“The optimised infrastructure that McCarthy Denning offers will enable me to provide the specialist advice that hospitality and leisure clients require without the overheads of a traditional firm during an unprecedented time in the hospitality industry,” she says.

Stokoe Partnership Solicitors, the criminal defence firm, has recruited Richard Cannon as a partner to its Central London offices.

Cannon is a highly experienced white collar crime solicitor, practising primarily in serious fraud and joins from Gunnercooke, where he was a partner. Previously he had been a partner at Mishcon de Reya and before that at Janes Solicitors.

Richard Cannon

Cannon’s track record covers a wide range of experience including cross-border financial crime allegations, Ponzi frauds and alleged bribery and corruption for both private and corporate clients. He has acted in a range of high profile matters, including cases brought by the Serious Fraud Office and HMRC prosecutions in relation to alleged tax fraud.

“Stokoe Partnership Solicitors has a strong reputation for handling some of the most serious and complex criminal defence matters and I am delighted to be joining the team,” said Cannon.

E-VENTS, WEBINARS etc.

BDB Pitmans in conjunction with St Philips Chambers are delighted to invite you to our latest Mock Employment Tribunal which has been designed especially for HR professionals and managers.

The virtual event will be run by our experienced employment team along with barristers from St Philips Chambers, and will be presided over by a ‘real-life’ Employment Tribunal Judge.

You will hear from a disgruntled claimant, experience and participate in the cross examination of witnesses and will follow the proceedings through to its conclusion.

The Mock Tribunal will provide you with:

  • an opportunity to help demystify Tribunal proceedings;
  • an insight into how online proceedings are being conducted;
  • a chance to learn how to prepare for, present and defend a Tribunal claim; and
  • a forum to question and discuss Employment Tribunal issues with our team of experienced barristers and an Employment Judge.

This practical and interactive session is a great opportunity to experience the theatre of an Employment Tribunal (albeit in a virtual setting), understand how the process works and build your confidence to prepare for any future Tribunals without risk to your business.

The Mock Tribunal is free to attend but please register for your place by clicking here 

Once registered, Mock Tribunal documents, including witness statements, will be sent to you via email no later than seven days in advance. 

The session will be held using Zoom, a link will be sent to you in your registration confirmation email and will also be re-sent on the morning of the webinar.

We hope you can join us.

Follow us @BDBPitmans #BuildingBetter

HARDWICKE BUILDING

Brave New World:
What Brexit Means for Litigators

Enforcement of Foreign Judgments and Service of Proceedings after Brexit

We are delighted to invite you to our #HardwickeBrew taking place at midday on Wednesday, 21 April.12:00 – 12:30 | Wednesday, 21st April 2021
Online!

Michael Levenstein and James Shaw will discuss the new legal landscape following the end of the Brexit transition period. In particular, they will address legal and tactical issues arising from the disapplication of the Recast Brussels Regulation, the UK’s accession to the Hague Convention and changes to CPR, Part 6 as concerns service of proceedings outside of the jurisdiction.

Please register your interest by using the buttons below. We will be in touch to confirm places in due course. If you have any questions, please e-mail events@hardwicke.co.uk.

We look forward to catching up at a safe social distance!

View email online  

Structuring and resourcing your legal team  

In conjunction with Thomson Reuters please join us for a discussion about how in-house legal teams can best be structured and resourced to deliver an effective service to their organisation. Whether you lead a team or work within one, it’s important that you understand the context in which structuring and resourcing decisions are taken.
 
Date:  19 May 2021  Time: 2.00pm-3.30pm

Legal teams are frequently restructured in part and sometimes as a whole in order to meet challenges caused by crises, mergers, expansion or budgetary cuts or simply as a consequence of the realisation that the previous structure was no longer working effectively enough to meet the developing needs of the organisation.  In this discussion we expect to explore a range of practical issues – strategic, people, financial – relevant to this important topic, including:
Questions to ask yourself before deciding on the right structure for your team
Helping clients to understand their needs and wants
Deciding the size and scope of the team
Using other resources to help you deliver the service – outside lawyers,  the client, and others
Developing your legal strategy and making the case for your resources
Aspects of change management involved in decisions on structure
Link between structures, recruitment and career development. 

If you have any questions, queries or comments, please contact us at admin@legalleadership.co.uk

 ACCEPT

We hope that you have enjoyed this edition of the LEGAL DIARY,

Please relay on to friends and colleagues.

And we look forward to publishing again next Friday.

Edward Fennell’s LEGAL DIARY

Thursday 1st April 2021 Edition 52 Maundy Thursday

Diary news, commentary, insights, appointments and

e-vents from the legal world

SHORT THOUGHT FOR THE EASTER WEEKEND

Lawyr Logo – Obviously with a GSOH

There’s a long Bank Holiday weekend ahead and, with lockdown almost unlocked, you can look forward to a relaxed few days with the ones you love.

But who would love a lawyer? Plenty of people according to Matthew Rhodes of ‘Roll on Friday’ (RoF) whose new dating website Lawyr (‘For lawyers and the people who want to date them’ with logo above) has attracted plenty of publicity and promoted a lively debate on the pros and cons of getting into a romantic relationship with a lawyer. No less a figure than Matthew Parris in The Times relayed on an observation that being a lawyer ‘sucks all joy and potential for happiness out of your soul’ and that however sexually alluring a lawyer’s bank balance may be (presumably of any sex or orientation) it might not sustain a marriage. “I’ve worked for a firm where all the partners were divorced, had suffered heart attacks, or both” was one comment on the RoF site.

But beware the nay-sayers. “These drivel scare stories have been squeezed out for years  – often by jealous penniless journalists who weren’t good enough for the bar or law firms – they end up worth nothing in their 40s and doctor articles to justify their life,” asserted one commentator. How true.

The LegalDiarist

In this week’s edition

+ LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

– Cyber sword needed for defence

– Clifford Chance Backs Paralegal Skills Initiative

You bet!

– Protesting the Rule of Law?

– Bowled over by India  

+ CONTRIBUTED ARTICLES OF THE WEEK

– IMPROVING LAWYERS’ MENTAL HEALTH by Ann Offomata, Managing Director at Major, Lindsey & Africa

– SCRUTINY THROUGH THE COURT by Kari Gerstheimer, Chief Executive of Access Social Care

+ COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

– The ASDA ‘Equal Pay’ case

+ APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK

Clyde & Co and Thomson Snell & Passmore

+ E-VENTS

The Brick Court centenary podcast series continues

LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

Cyber sword needed for defence

Image courtesy of Computerworld

First it was working from home, then it was from anywhere. But wherever you want to work you are potentially at risk from breaches to your cyber security.

That was the clear message of a recent survey of 750 UK law firms, and 500 commercial and M&A solicitors since the start of the pandemic undertaken by Doherty Associates for its report ‘Who Moved My Moat?

The figures make grim reading with a quarter of solicitors admitting that they have been the victim of a data breach or caused one themselves since working remotely – suggesting that employees are not reporting all of the mistakes they make to the firm. About one fifth experienced a phishing attack or similar cyber attack and 42% admitted to emailing confidential client information or unencrypted attachments.

What became clear is that as many as four in ten of UK law probably lack adequate cyber threat visibility and detection systems to protect employees working remotely. And in any case firms are largely unaware of the volume of cyber attacks and data breaches impacting their remote workforce.

Yet despite one third of firms feeling that their IT environment is more vulnerable to a cyber or data breach with employees working outside the office the majority of firms still expect the hybrid office to stay in place after the covid crisis is over.

“Operating a remote workforce in the cloud has many benefits, including greater flexibility, diversity and lower overheads, but it’s critical to ensure that teams continue to operate safely, securely and are fully compliant with FCA and GDPR regulations wherever they are working from,” says Terry Doherty. .

According to Doherty’s survey, employees’ bad cyber habits include working on a blend of work and personal devices when working from home. Around half admit to saving confidential corporate information to these devices. But only 15% of firms have put a block on personal devices for work use.

Meanwhile 32% of employees surveyed by Doherty Associates said they’ve had no cyber awareness training since the first lockdown and over two thirds say they have ignored virus security scan requests or computer update alerts to safeguard their company’s systems and sensitive data.

“Your company is only as safe as your weakest link and by empowering employees with the knowledge to identify threats in real-time, they can become your greatest security asset and help prevent cyber attacks,” warned Doherty.

Clifford Chance Backs Paralegal Skills Initiative

At this time of renewed and heated debate about race Clifford Chance had nominated the New York-base Center for Institutional and Social Change as the winner of its Racial Justice Award for 2021. The organisation will now receive a US$70,000 donation and 500 hours of pro bono support over an 18 month period for the organisation’s  Paralegal Pathways Initiative.

“Last year we committed to work with our people and partners to drive concrete actions to help address the racial injustices highlighted by George Floyd’s death and the international reaction to it,” said Jeroen Ouwehand, Senior Partner at Clifford Chance, “Today I am proud to announce our partnership with the Paralegal Pathways Initiative, through our Racial Justice Award. Racial justice will not simply happen by accident or through kind words. Racial justice is a permanent campaign that requires a permanent commitment to take effective steps by those able to make a difference.”

The significant feature of the Paralegal Pathways Initiative is that it focuses on helping those returning home from American prisons to find sustainable careers by capitalising on the legal research and litigation skills which inmates have often gained while incarcerated.

“We are delighted to be working with a law firm like Clifford Chance, bringing its skills, resources and networks to bear alongside our team and our Fellows,“ said Susan Sturm, the Center for Institutional Social Change’s director added. “Every step on the journey to addressing racial injustices requires hard work, grounded in the leadership of people most directly impacted by racism and mass incarceration. The more allies who work together in genuine partnership and long-term collaboration the better.”

Clifford Chance’s Racial Justice Award is open to not-for-profit organisations globally that help individuals, groups or communities use the law to achieve significant inclusion, racial justice and social impact.

For more information on Clifford Chance’s stance on inclusion and diversity visit here and for more information on Access to Justice initiatives visit here.

You Bet!

Fancy a fleeting flutter?

It’s going to be a big weekend for horse racing and betting and no doubt there will be one or two lawyers out there contributing to next year’s pay-out for Denise Coates of Bet365 (reckoned to have banked a £421 million salary in a 12-month period). But while Bet365 is above board that’s not necessarily true of all the outfits trumpeting deliciously winning come-ons. “I have seen online betting sites with amazing odds. How can I check the credibility of the site and make sure it’s not a scam?” asks, rhetorically, DAS Law solicitor Nicole Rogers.

The answer, of course, says Rogers is:“Check that the organisation that you plan to gamble with is licensed by the UK’s Gambling Commission. Every online gambling business that is licensed is required to display a notice saying that they are licensed by the Gambling Commission with a link to the Commission’s website.  On the Commission’s website there is a license register where you can see what activities a company is able to offer.  If a gambling business doesn’t have a license, it is acting illegally and you would be wise to avoid placing any bets with them.”

Sounds like the best advice of the weekend (even more so than going on Lawyr).

Protesting the Rule of Law?  

It’s impossible to resist the grim nostalgia for the late 1970s and early 1980s when watching TV news right now, full as it is of heaving protestors and police losing it in the ensuing ruck. Also going back in time maybe is the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which The Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law has announced it will be scrutinising in details when its provisions are debated in Parliament.
 

“Currently, the scope for protest is further restricted by Coronavirus lockdown regulations, although the full extent of these restrictions has not always been clear,” says the Centre which has just published a report, Protests During Lockdown (England): A Rule of Law Analysis, considering UK court decisions on protest during lockdown. “The report ends by considering how far the right to protest will be protected by the new lockdown regulations [which have just come into force].”

For more go to https://binghamcentre.biicl.org/

Bowled over by India

As our relations cool with China maybe it is time to focus more attention on India (despite the problems that UK law firms have had in setting up there). With that in mind Axiom Stone Solicitors sponsored the Great Big Indian Money Show which was held online from March 26-28, organised by iGlobal, the internet business directory.

Axiom Stone Managing Partner Pragnesh Modhwadia suggested ways of “Unleashing the Entrepreneur in you”, whilst Chairman Jonathan Metliss drew on his experience for “becoming the Ultimate Networker – How to make great business contacts”. Other contributions came from Idnan Liaqat, Head of Commercial and Residential property, on the value of property auctions, Vassos Vassou, Head of Private Client, on wills and inheritance tax planning and Olivia Cooper, Head of Private Wealth and family Office, on funding a business.

England might not be able to beat India at cricket but it still has something to say about the laws of the game.

CONTRIBUTED ARTICLES OF THE WEEK

LAWYERS’ MENTAL HEALTH

Could flexible working help solve the legal industry’s mental health crisis? suggests Ann Offomata, Managing Director at Major, Lindsey & Africa

Ann Offomata

The fact that junior lawyers suffer from anxiety and depression due to long hours and hefty workloads is unfortunately nothing new. What is new, however, is that these lawyers have become more vocal in their discontent.

Covid-19 has intensified the mental health crisis facing associates. Remote working, seclusion and financial insecurity due to a pandemic-induced recession are contributing to poor mental health and affecting concentration, workflow and productivity. At the same time, the pandemic has also shone a spotlight on these problems.

Prolonged isolation has prompted junior lawyers to speak out: all-nighters are easier to handle with a sense of camaraderie in the office, but access to colleagues as a source of support and validation has been more limited.

As UK restrictions ease, law firms need to better understand the contributing factors to stress and poor mental health. As well as addressing billing pressures and client demands, a broader view is needed. Many junior lawyers suffer from imposter syndrome and feel harshly judged or penalised for mistakes – could they be being intimidated by their superiors? Might some feel isolated due to their ethnicity or socioeconomic background? Are teams adequately staffed? Are mentoring schemes fit for purpose?

To prevent burnout and toxic environments, firms must eliminate the stigma still attached to mental illness so that lawyers can disclose concerns without fear of being labelled as weak. Some firms are trying to be more empathetic, offering on-site psychologists, training staff to detect problems and introducing mental health support as well as other wellness initiatives. But there is a long way to go.

Paradoxically, although remote working may have accentuated their mental health problems, associates are increasingly demanding flexible working, so that they can find a better work-life balance.

Firms who listen and promote self-care will have their pick of the best talent, and a more productive, efficient and profitable team. In contrast, those who drag their feet or rely purely on token gestures, will come across as old-fashioned, valuing control and presenteeism over good mental health.

Associates have proved their worth over a challenging year. Law firms ignore their achievements, and their mental health needs, at their peril.

SCRUTINY THROUGH THE COURT

The Government’s plan to overhaul powers of judicial review is dangerous says Kari Gerstheimer, Chief Executive of Access Social Care

Kari Gerstheimer

On the 18th March, the Government announced plans for an overhaul of the powers of judicial review to “protect” judges from being drawn into politics. This is dangerous. Judicial review is a vital mechanism in which a judge reviews the lawfulness of a decision made by a public body, protecting us from abuses of power and helping ensure good governance.

Boris Johnson’s attempt to strip the courts of the power to challenge unlawful Executive decisions, preventing us from holding public bodies to account, could lead to thousands of older and disabled people being denied the social care they are legally entitled to.

The Prime Minister is ignoring his commissioned independent review – which determined that the courts would respect the institutional boundaries of judicial power – claiming instead a need to redress the imbalance of powers in favour of the Government.

If you need social care, you may already be painfully aware that the balance of powers is decisively out of whack. Since 2010, the 92% drop in the number of community care legal aid cases means local authorities can effectively act unlawfully with impunity.

Even the Government acknowledges that their proposals to introduce prospective only remedies (which would apply only to future decisions) “could lead to an immediate unjust outcomes for many”. What this means is that unlawful assessments and unsafe care plans could go unchecked. The proposals to suspend quashing orders risks delaying remedial action for individuals seeking redress. With strong financial incentives to delay moving a person into more expensive provision the potential risk for people languishing in an inappropriate care homes for months is quite real.

For too many, the right to social care might as well not exist. Scrutiny through the courts matters. The Government’s potential changes mean the weight on the scales could be immovably stacked against you.

Kari Gerstheimer is a qualified solicitor who has worked in the charitable sector since 2006 and set up a beneficiary facing legal department at Sense, before moving to Mencap with her legal team in 2017. She incubated the Legal Network within Mencap before setting up Access Social Care as an independent charity in 2020.

COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

THE ASDA EQUAL PAY CASE

The Supreme Court ruling, where more than 44,000 Asda workers have won the latest stage of their equal pay claim with bosses, attracted a considerable amount of comment including from:

Andrew Nugent Smith, Managing Director of class action law firm Keller Lenkner UK, which acts for thousands of Tesco employees in separate but similar claims against Tesco:

“This is a significant victory for shop floor workers in the long-running battle between supermarkets and their employees. Today’s ruling sets a strong precedent for other claims against large supermarkets. 

“It is good to see that shop floor workers can now be validly compared to distribution workers, and that today’s Supreme Court ruling has been made in favour of employees.

“The reality is that shop floor workers are predominantly female and that a higher proportion of men work in distribution centres, so today’s ruling is also a victory for equality.”

Suresh Patel, Mishcon de Reya Employment lawyer: 

“Today’s much anticipated Supreme Court decision in Asda Stores v. Brierley confirms that for the purposes of their equal pay claims, retail staff working in Asda supermarkets can compare themselves to distribution staff working in Asda warehouses.

However, this decision is only the conclusion of a preliminary step in the litigation. The case now goes back to the employment tribunal, where the claimants must show that they perform work of equal value to the distribution employees. Asda can also raise the defence that any difference in pay is due to a non-discriminatory material factor.”

Philip Richardson, partner and head of employment law at Stephensons:

“The ruling by the Supreme Court is a landmark moment for thousands of employees and will have profound consequences for many other companies with similar employment practices and pay structures. The cumulative effect of these claims could see other supermarkets and retailers face eye-watering figures in terms of compensation.

“The focus will now shift towards a possible further legal challenge to establish whether specific store and distribution jobs were of equal value and that the employees’ gender was a factor in the rates of pay being lower than their male counterparts.”

APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK

Rosie Ngw has joined Clyde & Co as Partner to its Global Insurance Group in Hong Kong. She was previously with HFW, where she advised policyholders, insurers and reinsurers, and intermediaries on all aspects of insurance and reinsurance dispute resolution. She also provides insurance regulatory advice and advises on policy wordings and product development.

Rosie has a proven track record advising on complex insurance issues involving Hong Kong and is a former director of the Hong Kong Insurance Law Association. Simon McConnell, Managing Partner of Clyde & Co Hong Kong, comments: “Rosie is well-regarded in the market as one of the leading insurance and reinsurance lawyers in Hong Kong, so we are delighted to have her on board. Her practice complements the work of our existing group, and adds new dimensions, specifically in relation to product liability.” 

Tom Hall has been appointed as a Partner by Thomson Snell & Passmore to its Court of Protection department, one of only two firms to be ranked in the top tier for Court of Protection work UK-wide in both Chambers and the Legal 500. He joins from Hyphen Law (formerly part of Thrings LLP), where he acted as the relationship holder for a busy caseload of deputyship and personal injury trust clients and their wider networks. He was responsible for the day to day management of high value and often complex deputyship and personal injury trust matters supporting severely brain injured clients.

Brian Bacon, Head of Court of Protection at Thomson Snell & Passmore, adds: “By tapping into Tom’s considerable expertise, we will be able to further broaden and strengthen the already excellent service and support we offer to our clients and their families.” 

E-VENTS (Legal Webinars, blogs and more)

BRICK COURT SHARES ITS EXPERTISE ON ITS CENTENARY

In the second episode of an ongoing series of podcasts David Anderson QC and Maya Lester QC share views and experiences on “Stepping outside the law”:

https://www.brickcourt.co.uk/centenary/podcasts#episode2

Why and how do some lawyers step outside the law? How does legal life prepare one for public life? What happens when law and politics meet, and when might each need to give way? Where and how can one have the most impact – in the courtroom or outside it? What do lawyers bring to the House of Lords? 

And why are foreign spooks jealous of the British (is it really James Bond)?

Join David and Maya as they discuss these, and a host of other, questions.

The LEGAL DIARY offers you a very Happy Easter. We are taking an Easter Break ourselves but aim to be back in our usual Friday slot on Friday 16 April.

But meanwhile please keep sending your news, views, comments and insights to

fennell.edward@yahoo.com

And please pass on this edition to friends and colleagues . Many thanks for reading!

Edward Fennell’s LEGAL DIARY

Friday 26 March 2021 Edition 51

Diary news, commentary, insights, appointments and

e-vents from the legal world

SHORT THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

– BRISTOL FASHION

A great time was had by all Image SWNS

One week ago exactly – in last Friday’s LEGAL DIARY – we were celebrating Bristol’s position as a major hub for legal tech. Ed Boal, Director & Head of Legal Ops at Stephenson Law commented that, “If there is any region outside London where LegalTech should spring up and prosper it is in Bristol …… with the ecosystem we have.” Within 48 hours the Bristol ecosystem then showcased its other great strength as the city with the most innovative approach to legal street campaigning. While last year Bristolians gave us an exhibition performance in statue-rolling, last Sunday they offered an object lesson in how to do over your local nick.

Actually it was a healthy reminder that for all the legaltech in the world there are still people who prefer to hammer out legal matters face-to-face. So, the Government’s ‘Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill’ has provided an opportunity for people to come together in the fresh air for frank exchanges about legislative change – although that might not stick as a plea for leniency in the courts in the months ahead.

The Legaldiarist

In this week’s edition

+ THE LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

– Brown Rudnick Goes Urban

– Til Divorce Do Us Part

– Musical Cheers

– Muddled headline

– Speaking of Prince Harry

– Being Responsible in Brum

+ LEGAL COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

– ECHR: NOT QUITE WHAT IT SEEMS?

– PLAIN TALK ON TAX AVOIDANCE

– UNHAPPY FAMILIES

– COMING HOME: SUPREME COURT CLARIFIES PARENTS’ RIGHTS

– SLEEP-IN WORKERS

+ APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK

– Satra Sampson-Arokium at Dechert

– Jordan Owen at DWF

+E-VENTS ETC.

THE LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

Brown Rudnick Goes Urban

At last an inclusive education programme from a law firm which looks as if its got some real ‘meat’ (or tofu for you veggies) rather than just window dressing.

Brown Rudnick has signed up with Brunel University to support its Urban Scholars Programme which operatesSaturday school’ for local pupils ‘who come from disadvantaged backgrounds’. But this is not just a day- or week-long exercise to tick the CSR box. It is a three year commitment including mentoring and work placements to deliver what they call ‘sustained support’.

“The aim of the programme is to inspire kids and introduce them to careers that they didn’t think were accessible to them and to provide them with skills and confidence,” says the firm. It provides ‘enriched learning experiences’ for pupils aged 12 -18 from across 10 of London’s 32 Boroughs. Significantly this is the first funding and strategic collaboration between Brunel University USP and a law firm. “If there is any hope of tackling the lack of diversity in the legal profession, we have to start with young people at school,” said Neil Micklethwaite, Managing Partner of Brown Rudnick LLP in London. “USP supports bright students from underprivileged backgrounds by providing them with role models, as well as helping them with their confidence, academic, and reasoning skills. Crucially, this programme introduces students to career opportunities that they might not otherwise have pursued.”

Abdur-Razzaq Ahmed, an Associate of Brown Rudnick’s Litigation & Arbitration Practice Group, was involved in the first session. “We see a lot of opportunity to pass on what we know and have learned during the course of our careers, and to draw on our network to help you develop yourselves and your skills,” he said. “With that guidance, we hope that you have the real, unwavering self-belief that you can pursue any career that you want to.” Including, one would trust, not just in the law. (After all we can’t all be lawyers, can we?).

Til Divorce Do Us Part?

The perennial war between the sexes has turned particularly vicious of late (with both domestic violence remedy applications and orders reaching record numbers – see more below) so maybe there was more despair than hope in the comment by Hannah Gumbrill-Ward, Solicitor at Winckworth Sherwood, that, “Looking forward to the year ahead we predict that this decreasing trend [ the number of divorce petitions falling] will reverse and that there will be an increase in both divorces and financial remedy applications as the world starts to open up again. People will no longer be locked down together in toxic or abusive relationships and will be able to start rebuilding their lives independently as the world rebuilds and finds its new normal.”

Alternatively, might some couples have re-connected with each other during lock-down and decided that, actually, they quite like each other? Or is that hopelessly romantic?

Musical Cheers

We all feel sorry for the battered music industry right now with no-one actually paying for anything and pirates ripping off the talent. But in the age of lawtech, hope is at hand as explained by ‘PRS for Music’ which reports this week on the success of its Member Anti-Piracy System (MAPS). Apparently, in the battle against digital music piracy, MAPS uses ‘web-crawling technology’ to detect and report infringements. Thanks to MAPS, 76% of dodgy URLs have been removed with non-compliant sites being directly referred to the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit’s ‘Operation Creative’. “We are pleased that MAPS has allowed us to protect the value of our members’ music,” said Simon Bourn, Associate General Counsel, PRS for Music. “It has led to the demise of hundreds of illegitimate services.” If only it could also knock out whole decades of dire music (starting with the 1990s) all would be well.


Muddled Headline

Born to Succeed? Image Royal UK

My apologies to Jacqui Lazare of Clarke Willmott for completely misinterpreting the headline to her announcement this week that WILLS HOLD KEY TO FAMILY BUSINESS SUCCESSION. Given the current national preoccupation with everything regal I assumed she meant that, post-Elizabeth II, Prince William must succeed to the throne – rather than his Matmite-y Dad – to ensure the monarchy (‘the firm, the family business’) survives.

Actually, once I had got into the body of the story, it was something much more serious. “Many families with a business are now using discretionary trusts to ensure that family members receive their inheritance rather than the taxman. Instead of leaving exempt assets in a will to a spouse outright or to a life interest trust the assets are left to a discretionary trust with chosen beneficiaries.” Prince Harry, at least, should take note.

Speaking of Prince Harry

Hotfoot from yesterday’s panel discussion on ‘How to best support the mental health of your legal team’, chaired by Chris Parsons of Herbert Smith Freehills and organised in conjunction with legal search agency Major, Lindsey & Africa, Lisa Owens, Managing Director at ML&A reported on some of the key take-aways.

The frank conversations between our leading GC panellists showed that business models can no longer simply be based on hours in the office – workforces have proven they can work anywhere, and successfully,” she said. “Companies and in-house legal teams must learn lessons about the benefits of flexible working for mental wellbeing and avoid a return to a culture of presenteeism this year.”

After [yesterday’s] session” she continued, “I feel encouraged that the mental health conversation in law is clearly progressing, with companies and in-house legal teams recognising that they have to go far beyond paying lip service – but there is always more work to be done. Now is the time to ensure tangible progress is made in breaking down the stigma around mental health in the legal industry.”

Panel members included  Maria Hemberg (Volvo Cars), Marco Kerschen (Wallgreens Boots Alliance) and Dr Beatrice Vos (Elanco EMEA) – a nice bunch of clients to have on tap.

Being Responsible in Brum

Not an Ivory Tower in sight Image courtesy of Birmingham University

If you are ahead of the curve you already know that there is a ‘data science skills gap’ in the legal profession. (And if it had passed you by just blame the lack of a water-cooler culture in recent months). Anyway, Birmingham University is intent on closing that gap with its new one-year MSc programme in ‘Responsible Data Science’ which combines data science with ‘the capacity to understand and critically reflect upon the social, ethical, and political implications of data-driven applications’. Impressive, eh?

One of the first law firms to catch the wave is Eversheds Sutherland which will be providing paid internships for students on the course, helping to create case studies for the course itself, and offering support to students around wellbeing and pastoral care. “With our partners, we are developing the next generation of lawyers, who understand both the fundamentals of data science and the core legal, ethical and regulatory implications in real-world settings,” said the University’s Professor Karen Yeung, Interdisciplinary Professorial Fellow in Law, Ethics and Informatics. Jobs for the future for sure? Well probably – the course does claim to lead to ‘new and yet-to-be-created roles’.

LEGAL COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

ECHR: NOT QUITE WHAT IT SEEMS?

It’s a cover-up Image courtesy of Council of Europe

You don’t have to be an avid ‘Leaver’ to suspect that something is off kiltre in Europe at the moment. Never mind the European Commission, now it is the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) which is under scrutiny for suspending access to its files and decisions. Commentators are now expressing concern about the Court’s stance on open justice and impartiality prevention measures.

One of the key critics is Professor Jurij Toplak (University of Maribor, Slovenia, and Visiting Professor at Fordham Law School, New York) who suggest that the ECHR is actually behaving illegally. Here are some of his observations:

After allowing access to its single-judge decisions for decades and after sending applications out for several months, the Court’s termination of access in March 2021 due to the pandemic seems unjustified. The pandemic has not worsened in March 2021. No court should be allowed to hide its decisions from the public.The files are public documents. This means that the ECHR has to allow the public to see them. In no other circumstances in the past has the court suspended its services.

I believe there is something else at play. It may be a tendency to limit the transparency. But this move, however, is extreme. It is also illegal.The Convention makes it clear that the public should have access to files. Several political leaders worldwide have justified their dubious decisions with pandemic. I would have never expected that from the ECHR.

To protect its integrity, the Court needs rules and safeguards that prevent the staff from acting arbitrarily when responding to access information requests. It is high time for European lawyers to raise their voices against dubious case management practices and secrecy of judicial decisions and files.

Over to you?

PLAIN TALK ON TAX AVOIDANCE

The Government is launching (yet another ) consultation on how it might “clamp down on promoters of tax avoidance” as part of its perpetual aspiration to improve Britain’s tax system.

All of which prompted James Austen, Tax Law Partner at Collyer Bristow LLP to comment that, The reality is that such promoters of tax avoidance schemes. are now few and far between and those remaining in the market are normally based outside the UK, which presents obvious difficulties in taking effective enforcement action against them.(So good luck with that one).

Added to which “HMRC has published rather curious discussion documents, which contain details of how it uses data received via the various international tax transparency and reporting schemes (such as CRS and FATCA).  These contain consultation questions intended “to inform future policy measures, but they contain no firm proposals about improving taxpayer compliance.” (In other words, gestures but no action].

And when it comes to tackling disguised remuneration tax avoidance and off-payroll working rules: Both disguised remuneration and off-payroll working are topical.  Both are clearly still on HMRC’s radar, though no new measures specifically targeting them are announced in today’s command paper, which will be a relief to those affected.” (In other words, a big kick to that familiar can down the same old road).

UNHAPPY FAMILIES

Getting it wrong………… again

The publication of Family Court Statistics Quarterly: October to December 2020 revealed that the number of domestic violence remedy order applications increased by 19% compared to the equivalent quarter in 2019, while the number of orders made increased by 20% over the same period. Here’s what some high profile family lawyers had to say about it.

 Nick Manners, Partner at Payne Hicks Beach

The most concerning feature of the latest statistics is the huge increase in domestic violence cases on last year. Alarm bells should be ringing in Whitehall and this toxic by-product of lockdown must be addressed as a priority, not just in the Courts, but also with early intervention to protect the most vulnerable.

The pandemic has hit a justice system which was already creaking and brought it to its knees. Cases take far too long to complete. The time it takes for divorcing couples to get through the process is increasing at an alarming rate, preventing couples (and indeed any children involved) from achieving closure, allowing them to move on with their lives. I have seen this in my own practice, where often the only thing which prevents couples from moving on is the appallingly slow time it takes to actually obtain a divorce.”

Toby Yerburgh, Partner and Head of Family Law at Collyer Bristow:

“As predicted, lockdown has led to an increase (5%) in the number of divorce cases started in the last quarter of 2020.  This is not, though, quite the catastrophic rise predicted by some, with many couples probably holding off from divorce proceedings in the hope of  reassessing their relationships once some form of post-lockdown normality is established.

Charmaine Hast, Head of Family at Wedlake Bell, comments:

 “The MoJ Quarterly Family Court Statistics for the period October 2020 to December 2020 provides an extraordinary insight into the emotional burden that has been placed on the population by Covid. Interestingly the final orders of divorce were down 54% for the same period last year, which prima facie may indicate that extreme behaviour is on the increase and the public may be having second thoughts about divorce during financially challenging periods like the present pandemic. 

The question has to be asked whether the new “normal” will mean that the prolific divorce rate will slow down because parties are pulling together during difficult times?”

Victoria Sterritt, Partner at Seddons

 “Laments of the destructive impact of covid 19 on relationships and family life have not been fake news but sadly are all too real and obvious when one looks at the statistics. …… The reasons for divorce and separation remain the same but the decision making somewhat accelerated by circumstances.  The fact the court system and the process is overwhelmed leading to delays only serve to prolong the pain.  Families and individuals have been thrown together in a vacuum, and held with a vice like grip, with the removal of practically all release outlets and this has led to frustration often manifesting in anger and the need for protection from (sic) the court system.  Family life has faced unparalleled pressures and so as a result the family court has likewise,”

When and where, you might ask, does this all end? In an age of mindfulness shouldn’t we all be doing a bit better than this?

COMING HOME: SUPREME COURT CLARIFIES PARENTS’ RIGHTS

No abductions allowed

A big case in the Supreme Court at the end of last week clarified the rights and wrongs of feuding parents taking children to other jurisdictions and claiming asylum as a way of securing their claim.

Under the Hague Convention, our Courts have an obligation to return children who have been unlawfully removed from their home country.” commented Carolina Marín Pedreño, Partner at Dawson Cornwell, the solicitor for the father involved in the case.  

With borders closing and the world in pandemic-related chaos, it is more important than ever that we have clarity on this issue. With many families agreeing to move children to other countries during their homeschooling in the pandemic, we can sadly expect to see more and more wrongful retention and international abduction cases as children in the days to come.”

This landmark decision sets out the approach that must be followed in cases where there has been the wrongful removal or retention of children and where asylum and immigration issues arise.  It is a very welcome decision, in which the UK Supreme Court has emphasised the commitment of the UK to the terms of the 1980 Hague Convention. It offers some hope to left-behind parents. Should new protocols and an expedited process be put in place, parents could be looking at weeks instead of years for the return of their abducted children. A damaging and destructive legal loophole could be closed.”

SLEEP-IN WORKERS

With so much else news-worthy this week the decision by the courts on payments to ‘sleep-in’ workers (notably in the care sector) has been quickly forgotten – apart, that is, from those directly affected. But here’s the last word from Neill Thomas, employment lawyer at Thomas Mansfield Solicitors, who represented John Shannon, the claimant in the case:

I was very disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision on John Shannon’s case. The Court literally interpreted an outdated law which stipulates that workers who are permitted to sleep at or near their place of work should only receive the National Minimum Wage if they perform their duties while being awake.

The Court has also swept away the previous decisions in several other cases similar to John’s.

It is the court’s role to interpret the legislation in accordance with what Parliament intended. But did the government really want for the worst paid workers to receive so little? Is it right that some of the poorest people in the society are not entitled to the National Minimum Wage?

If the government wants to rectify the issue, it will need to change the law. Unfortunately, it is too late for John. But there should be hope for a large number of people across Britain trapped in the cycle of poverty. If only the Low Pay Commission could make a new set of suggestions to Parliament.”

Clearly the ball is now in the LPC’s court.

APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK

Satra Sampson-Arokium has been appointed by Dechert LLP into an expanded role as the firm’s first Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer. Ms. Sampson-Arokium works closely with Dechert’s Management Committee and Diversity and Inclusion Committee in setting and implementing the firm’s strategic plans and priorities for diversity and inclusion.

In her expanded role, Ms. Sampson-Arokium will have an increased focus on client partnership and collaboration to further diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) goals. “Since joining Dechert in 2017 as our Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Satra has made a significant contribution to the culture and trajectory of our firm,” said Andrew Levander, Chair of Dechert’s Policy Committee. “This appointment emphasizes that diversity, equity and inclusion are at the core of Dechert’s business strategy.”

Jordan Owen has been appointed by DWF to lead its Global Entity Management service. She joins from from KPMG, where she was a senior manager in the Global Entity Management team. Previously she was at Eversheds for five years. 

DWF’s Global Entity Management service allows clients to outsource the day-to-day management of their global entity portfolio, with compliance with local laws and regulations and price certainty. Commenting on Owen’s appointment, Jason Ford, CEO of DWF Connected Services division, said, “Jordan will help establish our new global entity management service, working alongside our existing UK team, and further expand our range of regulatory and compliance services.  With Jordan on board, we will be looking to rapidly expand the team so that we can quickly help fulfil our client needs.”

LEGAL E-VENTS (webinars and the rest)  

Corporate Counsel and Compliance Exchange 2021

After an arguably very disruptive year, we are delighted to inform you that the Corporate Counsel and Compliance Exchange 2021 will soon be taking place.
This year’s exclusive , two-day, invitation-only meeting, will be held on the 5th and 6th May and is, for the first time, 100% online.
The event will bring together General Counsels, Chief Compliance Officers and Senior Legal Leaders who are all actively responsible for developing practical strategies and solutions to drive efficiency, embed ethics and enable growth within in-house functions

REGISTER NOW**

NEW SPEAKERS FOR 2021
**Sarah Binder, General Counsel, Pizza Hut
Sharon Blackman, Managing Director and General Counsel, CitiGeorgina McManus, Global General Counsel, 
Manolo BlahnikSpencer Davis, General Counsel, Daily Mail and General Trust
Timiko Cranwell, Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs, Budweiser
Mitzi Berberi, Legal Director – Western and Southern Europe, Uber
Zoe O’Sullivan, Head of Legal, Southampton FC
View the full list of speakers
REGISTER 
VIEW THE AGENDA

,
Casean Bailey Corporate Counsel and Compliance Exchange 2021info@exchangeevents.co.uk+44 (0)207 368 9484

We intend to be back next week (no plans to travel to Bristol) so do send your stories, news, insights and comments to

fennell.edward@yahoo.com

And please pass this on to your friends and colleagues. Thank you.


 

Edward Fennell’s LEGAL DIARY

First Anniversary edition

Friday 19 March 2021 Edition 50

Diary news, commentary, insights, appointments and

e-vents from the legal world

SHORT THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

WHAT’S AROUND THE BEND IN THE RIVER?

The week ahead marks the first anniversary of this LEGAL DIARY. Its launch came about almost by accident as Covid hit home, the lockdown crashed in and almost everything that the LegalDiarist commented on for a national newspaper seemed to evaporate. But never waste a good crisis so there suddenly opened up a fresh opportunity to write about this new legal world of working from home and lawyers ‘making it up as they went along’.

To represent this new reality the masthead image of the underside of a bridge in Docklands was chosen primarily because it bore no relationship whatsoever to the traditional brand images of the law – wigs, courts, chambers and the rest. But it did carry an important message that while the world conducts its business on the bridge above, supporting that bridge and making it secure are the four pillars of a rules-based society – the law, the courts, the lawyers and Parliament.

There is plenty of other legal media out there. There is no point in duplicating what they do (mostly) very well. But there are also other stories, viewpoints and people which should not be overlooked. That’s why we’re looking forward to going into our second year. We appreciate that you are reading us. We look forward to seeing what’s beyond the bend in the river.

The LegalDiarist

In this week’s ‘first anniversary’ edition

+ LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

– Wanna hear a story?

Tik Tok Legal Tech

Five Stars for B&B

Mute Point

The Never Ending Story at the Post Office

+ CONTRIBUTED ARTICLES OF THE WEEK

– ACTION AGAINST ILLEGAL ENCAMPMENTS by Wayne Beglan

-UBER RULING: THIS IS JUST THE START, says Kate Hindmarch

-VACCINE PASSPORTS NEED THE STAMP OF RELIABILITY,

says Eduardo Ustaran

+ APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK at Fox Williams, Browne Jacobson, JMW Solicitors and Cornerston Chambers

+ E-VENTS and More OF THE WEEK

THE LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

Wanna hear a story?

The big news from New York last night was of the merger between financial service law firms Crowell & Moring and Kibbe & Orbe. Of course this had implications on this side of the pond as well since there are London lawyers involved. As the official announcement put it, “As part of the transaction, 24 lawyers from the storied financial law firm would become part of Crowell & Moring’s New York, London, and Washington, D.C. offices, including Jennifer Grady, managing partner and chair of the firm’s executive committee, three founding partners, Jonathan Kibbe, William Orbe, and Michael D. Mann, and the managing partner of the London office, Andrew M. Martin.”

As so often (and you might have noticed) the word ‘storied’ was deployed to add weight to the announcement. But as a light quibble, one often wonders what it is supposed to mean. Is the firm involved multi-storied or single storied? Are the stories ‘good’ or bad’, entertaining or boring, ancient or new? Or are they just the ‘same old’ stories? Yes, ‘storied’ is a word which asks more questions then it answers. From a law firm one would value a little more precision.

Tik Tok Legal Tech

 Here comes another example of the way law firms are impacting on the business world in a way which would have been unimaginable just a generation ago.

Earlier this week DLA Piper launched an AI-enabled service designed to identify cartel risks within corporations. A combination of the law firm’s legal know-how with what is described as ‘cutting-edge AI technology’ from software whizz Reveal has created Aiscension which can ‘enhance a business’s compliance initiatives’ by detecting and preventing cartels. 

The driver for the new product comes from companies’ fears of unintentionally infringing anti-cartel legislation – the consequences of which can be very serious.

“The efficiency and reduction in cost that Aiscension brings to the market opens up a whole new way for companies to view and mitigate cartel risk,” says Ilan Sherr, Legal Director at DLA Piper and Executive Director of Aiscension. “Aiscension provides our clients with the ability to identify, at an early stage, whether they are at risk of being involved in potentially illegal activity.  This can enable them to take appropriate action at the earliest opportunity, and even prevent any damage from being done.”

DLA Piper will be offering the Aiscension service as part of its enhanced legal offering named Law&. “This solution confirms that a combination of AI technology and human legal expertise can solve complex issues such as cartel activity detection,” added Simon Levine, the law firm’s Global Co-CEO.

Five Stars for B&B

Cutting edge of LegalTech Picture courtesy of VisitBritain

Five Stars for B&B

Speaking of link-ups between lawyers and technology it is worth taking a look at Whitecap consultancy’s impressive report on the role of LegalTech in the Bristol & Bath (B&B) region of the West of England.

The timing is perfect as we start to come out of lockdown. The paradox is that, while technology means that you can WFA, clustering seems even more important than ever. And businesses of all types – not least law firms considering where to develop new offices – are finding the B&B area at the head of the queue. “If there is any region outside London where LegalTech should spring up and prosper it is in Bristol & Bath, with the ecosystem we have,” says Ed Boal, Director & Head of Legal Ops, Stephenson Law.

And that ecosystem is what exactly? Well, apparently there is already a growing cluster of more than 30 LegalTechs, including tech companies working in the legal sector and LegalTech arms, operating in the region. And with the area also providing a base for 26 of the top 100 law firms in the UK it might well benefit also from increased home working especially from London-based firms.

So no surprise then that within the past couple of weeks the Kalifa Review named B&B as one of the top 10 FinTech clusters in the UK. “A mindset shift is required,” said Dan Wright, Partner & Director of OC Solutions, Osborne Clarke. “We need to communicate that this is about enabling people, our lawyers and our clients – about making our lives a bit easier.”

Read more at https://www.whitecapconsulting.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Bristol-bath-LegalTech-2021-LowRes.pdf

Mute Point

A Learned Friend in need of a lead

Remote hearings – going well are they? As we review Year 01 AC (after Covid) it is safe to say that pleading remotely has been a bag of laughs for the watching public but has tested the patience of the more traditionally-minded. Or as Sophie Kemp, a solicitor in the debt recovery team at Clarke Willmott puts it (rather kindly, we think) it has led to some “innocent mishaps” as well as “over-confidence” among participants.

Such as? “We have heard of cases where an advocate was putting questions to a witness, and she could hear what she thought was a car indicator. She asked the witness if they were driving whilst trying to give evidence. The witness confirmed they were driving to a supermarket and thought it was reasonable to be able to drive and give evidence at the same time.”

Meanwhile we’ve heard of a case proceeding by way of video hearing where a party was addressing a Judge as ‘my flower’ and ‘petal’ and continued to do so despite being warned. 

“The challenges of remote hearings are not confined to the witnesses. In the middle of a video hearing, an advocate’s child burst into the room singing at the top of their voice. This is a situation that most will be sympathetic of nowadays and all parties, including the judge, luckily found it amusing and were swiftly able to continue the hearing once the rendition was over.

“But it is not all light-hearted and innocent mishaps. In one case a party took offence at being cross-examined and became rude and abusive to the opposing advocate and the judge, continuing to shout at them. The judge raised this as an issue and even took a five-minute recess so that the party’s advocate could telephone him to ask him to calm down.”

A new etiquette is now needed urgently for remote justice to retain its dignity.”It is clear that all parties, including judges, are still getting used to remote hearings and the reality of how they proceed,” says Kemp. “It will be interesting to see if this develops into a common trend or whether there may be further, more rigid and enforceable rules brought in for attending remote hearings.”

The Never Ending Story of an Undelivered ‘Sorry’ card from the Post Office

What would the Queen say?

Two decades have passed yet the war of persecution by the Post Office against its Sub-Postmasters has still not ended. Here’s the position:

Next week, the Court of Appeal will hear 41 appeals of sub-postmasters who were convicted of theft, fraud or false accounting where data from the defective Horizon system was at the heart of the prosecution case. In nearly all the cases, the Post Office is not contesting the appeals because it accepts that evidence in the original private prosecution was incomplete and that the Horizon system’s faults were not disclosed to judges and juries. But the Post Office has denied, in most cases, that it was wrong to have prosecuted in the first place, which means it is far from clear today that the Post Office fully exonerates most of the appellants from wrongdoing.”

Read more of this brilliant account of how this dreadful saga has driven innocent people to suicide and penury in Tony Collins’ authoritative article ‘The Post Office goes into the 21st year of IT-related disputes with a fresh dispute’ to be found at https://ukcampaign4change.com/2021/03/18/the-post-office-goes-into-the-21st-year-of-it-related-disputes-with-a-fresh-dispute/amp/

It will leave a sour taste on the tongue the next time you lick a stamp.

CONTRIBUTED ARTICLES OF THE WEEK

ACTION AGAINST ILLEGAL ENCAMPMENTS

The proposed new laws do not go far enough to protect the countryside suggests Wayne Beglan

Wayne Beglan

On 9 March 2021 the Secretary of State introduced the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021. Part 4, containing clauses 61-63, deals with unauthorised encampments, criminalising them in certain circumstances. By inserting new sections into CJPOA 1994 the clauses will expand the current powers available to Police (see s.61) and Local Planning Authorities to address unauthorised encampments occurring on private land without consent.

Caselaw has demonstrated that the current powers can take considerable time and expense to implement. A recent example is provided by Anderson v. Basildon [2021] EWCA Civ 363 which illustrates the difficulties that can arise even where a local authority acts with utmost expedition once works have commenced. There are examples of similar delays even involving private land, where the local authority may be reluctant to act requiring the landowner to incur significant legal costs.

However, as drafted, it is not clear that the Bill will in practice provide the extended protection for landowners and occupiers of land which the Bill seeks to provide. First, the offence only comes into being after a request to leave has been made and failure to comply “as soon as reasonably practicable”. Reasonably practicable may embrace a number of issues including alternative sites, interests of the children, health and age. Second, the offence only applies to those residing or intending to reside on the land. What amounts to residence, rather than say occupation, presence or control, is yet to be decided in this context. Third, s.60C(4) as proposed sets out four conditions at least one of which must be met. Residence on land without “significant” damage or disruption, or “significant” distress caused by offensive conduct, will not trigger the offence. Peaceable occupation will not be an offence. Fourth, it is a statutory defence to demonstrate a “reasonable excuse” for a failure to leave “as soon as reasonably practicable”, where the same issues as mentioned above may again come into play. Fifth, due to the above, prosecution nearly always rely upon landowner evidence. Individuals may be wary of providing such evidence. The Bill requires substantial amendment to achieve its desired purposes.

Wayne Beglan is a barrister at Cornerstone Barristers

UBER RULING: THIS IS JUST THE START, says Kate Hindmarch

The momentous move that Uber has made in granting its workers access to basic worker rights will be a real turning point for the nearly five million UK workers that are engaged in the ‘gig economy’.

 One of Uber’s leading arguments suggested that its self-employed contracts offered workers more freedom and flexibility in their work life. The Supreme Court, however, noted that in reality Uber drivers actually had limited control over a large amount of their employment agreement, including not having the ability to set their own price. The claims of freedom and flexibility echo a large proportion of contracts within the gig economy that will now fall under the scrutiny of the law. 

There’s no doubt that other major businesses within the gig economy will be placing aside funds to be able to cover minimum wage, pension contributions and holiday pay for their workers. The employment tribunal decision that went on to be confirmed by the Supreme Court has shone a spotlight on the practice of creating legally vague arrangements in order to avoid the ‘workers’ classification and in turn avoid liability to these workers.

“Questions have been raised globally over the role of the gig economy, and the extent to which these workers should be afforded the limited rights that employees enjoy. While the UK Supreme Court ruled in favour of protecting gig economy workers, within the US, Uber, along with other gig economy businesses, successfully convinced voters to back Proposition 22, protecting them from being liable to California state employment law.

Although companies such as Uber continue to use these self-employment tactics in a range of countries, the Supreme Court ruling will likely cause a global ripple effect resulting in an increase in legal cases being brought against Uber and others across the world.”

Kate Hindmarch is a partner in Employment Law at Langleys Solicitors

OTHER COMMENTS ON THE UBER JUDGMENT INCLUDE

Philip Richardson, partner and head of employment law at Stephensons

This decision by Uber is an important and very welcome milestone, not only for their 70,000 employees, but also for the gig economy as a whole. The judgment of the Supreme Court last month not only forced the hand of Uber but should also act as a wake-up call for many other companies that still use this employment model.”

Fairwork Researcher, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

The Supreme Court ruling said Uber drivers were entitled to worker entitlements from the time they log in to the time they log off. Uber, however, is committing to these entitlements only from the time the trip is accepted till drop-off. However, similar to how restaurants don’t only pay waiters for the time they are serving tables, ride-share drivers deserve to be paid for the time they spend between rides. Uber’s business model inherently relies on having a large pool of workers waiting to pick up passengers. Many drivers’ waiting times have become even longer during the pandemic, due to the drop in demand, directly affecting their income.

“ Uber’s new policy fails to comply with our principle of Fair Pay which states that workers should earn at least a minimum wage after taking account of (1) work-related costs and (2) active hours, which includes both direct and indirect hours of work. Uber’s decision includes the former but not the latter, in contravention with the UK Supreme Court’s judgment. Furthermore, their statement does not provide an indication of how ‘vehicle running costs’ will be calculated for each driver, and whether workers or unions will have a say in this calculation. Uber’s statement is also silent on many other aspects that affect workers’ livelihoods, including a due process for disciplinary decisions, which has been a long-standing demand of gig workers in the UK. There is also no mention of sick pay, protection against discrimination and other basic rights that drivers should be entitled to as workers.

The tide might very well be turning against unfair practices, but at Fairwork we believe there is still a lot more work to be done with platforms, unions, workers, and policy-makers to ensure that the demands of workers are heard, and that gig work becomes synonymous, at last, with fair work.”

VACCINE PASSPORTS NEED THE STAMP OF RELIABILITY,

says Eduardo Ustaran

The right privacy practices can make a significant contribution to the lawful and ethical roll out of vaccine passports by both governments and businesses. Well-accepted principles, like transparency, purpose limitation and data minimisation can guide this deployment and practical tools like privacy impact assessments will ensure that we achieve the best of all possible worlds. Governments and healthcare providers have a responsibility to ensure that only the right amount and type of data is made available, while access to such data by businesses must be limited to what is necessary to verify that someone has been vaccinated.

One of the great legislative data protection novelties introduced by the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was the idea of deploying measures by design and by default aimed at ensuring that only the personal data that is truly necessary for a given purpose is collected and used. This is key to the way in which vaccine passports should be designed by those working on any kind of digital certificate.

The design and deployment of vaccine passports must also take into account the likely attempts to deceive the system. Ensuring the reliability of the information embedded in vaccine passports will not just be a matter of cybersecurity but a pillar for public health.

Business in industries ranging from travel and hospitality to sporting events relying on a system of vaccine passports or certificates will have a vital role to play in making sure that such tools serve a beneficial purpose for society as a whole. In the same way that privacy impact assessments are a cornerstone of data-related innovation, any business seeking to rely on vaccine passports should undertake an impact assessment that identifies and mitigates any potential discrimination risks.

There is still much to be learnt and debated about the future of vaccine passports, but data protection can make a significant contribution to their lawful and ethical roll out. The experience of the past year shows that data protection does not get in the way of solving practical problems like fighting the pandemic and helping us overcome it, but it is important to do that within the applicable legal framework around privacy and cybersecurity.

Eduardo Ustaran is Co-Head of the Global Privacy and Cybersecurity practice at Hogan Lovells 

APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK

LUCY ENGLAND TO FOX WILLIAMS

Lucy England has moved as a partner to the commercial and technology group at Fox Williams.

Lucy brings extensive experience of the aviation and travel industries and understanding of the impact of technology from Bird & Bird where she was a partner in its commercial group and was travel group lead. Recently she has been advising businesses in those markets on the serious impact of the Covid pandemic.

“The travel and aviation sectors faced dramatic change before the advent of the Covid pandemic driven by new and exciting technologies,” she says. “Covid has accelerated this change with travel businesses looking forward to a substantial post-pandemic bounce.”

Rhys Griffiths, partner and head of the travel group at Fox Williams commented, “Lucy’s appointment enables us to further build our reputation as the ‘go to’ firm for the travel and aviation industry.”

DANIEL MARTIN TO JMW SOLICITORS

Daniel Martin has been recruited as a partner by JMW Solicitors LLP to join its financial and business crime, regulatory investigations and serious general crime team. Martin joins from Blaser Mills Law where he gained considerable experience in cases involving serious and organised crime, often with an international element. He specialises in corporate and financial crime, working on cases involving high value and complex fraud. He also advises corporates on internal investigations and bringing private prosecutions in the criminal courts and has significant experience in defending asset recovery and confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).  He advises corporate clients on regulatory compliance with UK financial crime law, including the AML/CTF regime, and is a specialist Solicitor-Advocate, regularly representing clients in the Crown Court. He is ranked as a ‘Next Generation Partner’ in the Legal 500.

SOPHIE ASHCROFT TO BROWNE JACOBSON

Sophie Ashcroft has joinedBrowne Jacobson in its London office as a specialist commercial tech disputes partner. She was formerly at Clyde & Co. having had over 10 years’ experience acting on significant international and domestic disputes for a client base that comprised large corporates, government bodies, entrepreneurs and SMEs. She has particular expertise in handling complex disputes arising out of IT and outsourcing projects,

“Sophie’s wealth of expertise in complex tech disputes will be a real asset to our current offering and will allow us to further build on our credentials with our target markets. She will be a real boost for our growing practice.” said Declan Cushley, partner and head of IP and commercial group at Browne Jacobson whichadvises on large scale, business critical IT projects, international patent litigation cases and complex, multi-jurisdictional data protection and privacy issues.

PROFESSOR ROBERT SHUTZE TO CORNERSTONE BARRISTERS

Professor Robert Schütze, a constitutional scholar with a particular expertise in the law of the European Union and comparative federalism, has joined Cornerstone Barristers as an Associate Member.

 Schütze is Professor of European and Comparative Law at Durham University and Luiss (Rome) and the Co-Director of the Durham Global Policy Institute.  He was called to the Bar in 2020.

He is a permanent Visiting Professor at the College of Europe (Bruges); and in the past, he has been a Visiting Professor or Fellow at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (London), the Centre for European Legal Studies (Cambridge), the Institute of European and Comparative Law (Oxford) and the Max-Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law (Heidelberg). He has been a Fulbright-Schuman Fellow at the Centre for European Studies at Harvard University and a Braudel Senior Fellow at the European University Institute. He is the author of numerous publications including European Union Law and An Introduction to European Law (both with Oxford University Press).

LEGAL WEBINARS, BLOGS and other E-VENTS

COLLYER BRISTOW The Valuation of ArtThe latest podcast in our series ‘The Fine Art of Probate’ 
We are delighted to share the second episode in our new podcast series, The Fine Art of Probate, from Collyer Bristow’s Private Wealth team. In this series, a selection of Collyer Bristow lawyers are joined by special guests from the world of Art and Culture, to discuss a wide variety of topics relating to probate in English law. In this latest episode, Private Wealth Partner, James Cook, is joined by Harvey Cammell, Deputy Chairman of Bonhams UK and Global Director of Valuations, Trusts and Estates. Together they discuss the process of valuation in relation to probate.

 


Listen to the podcast

Running time: 30 mins Remember to subscribe to the series via Spotify or Apple to keep up to date with the latest episode. For more information on probate matters, please contact James Cook:James Cook

Partner, Private Wealth
+44 7947 532159james.cook@collyerbristow.com

ThoughtLeaders4 PrivateClient: Sudden Incapacity: Legal implications under the prevalence of Covid’ webinar on 23 March 2021.

The informative and timely discussion will centre around issues of incapacity whilst determining the best interests of patients in the midst of a very challenging 12 months and it falls on the same day as the national day of reflection which will see a minute’s silence at 12 noon.  Chaired by Sarah Williams, Payne Hicks Beach, experts will talk from all perspectives looking at processes, challenges and the emerging role of ICU mediation.

The panel line-up chaired by Sarah Williams is:

Jennifer Lee of Pump Court Chambers; Dr Chris Danbury, Consultant, Intensive Care Physician and mediator; Jessica Henson of Payne Hicks Beach and Michael Mylonas QC of Serjeant’s Inn Chambers. 

Issues that will be covered will include:

– The definition of incapacity and determining best interests of the patient

– Trusted advisors of the patient and next of kin

– Disputes with the clinical team and how to navigate it

– The role of ICU mediation and the pathways to agreement and resolution in the Court of Protection

– The legal implications if live legal proceedings (or legal decisions e.g with trusts) involve the incapacitous individual

 For more  Event Page link (http://bit.ly/30Tp5Th)

We very much hope that you have enjoyed this first anniversary edition but look forward even more to producing next week’s output so please send your news, views, insights and comments to

fennell.edward@yahoo.com

Edward Fennell’s LEGAL DIARY

Friday 12 March 2021 Edition 49

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

SHORT THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE (Sorry, we’ve had to delete it)

You may be bored to the back teeth by the Sussexit controversy but its ramifications are likely to be with us for a long time. The end of the monarchy, the collapse of the Commonwealth and the resurrection of Piers Morgan might all lie ahead. But what is already clear is that the tabloid press is going to have to be a tad more circumspect in how it handles celebrity stories following the instruction to The Mail to give the Duchess of Sussex a front page apology.

As Steven Heffer, Head of Media and Privacy at Collyer Bristow LLP, has commented, “Front page apologies are a very rare thing. In this case the Judge has ordered notice of his decision to be published on the front page, but it follows on from the Judge’s finding of breach of copyright and misuse of very private information. The case was so strong that a trial was not necessary on the main issues and summary judgment was given. The Duchess has won hands down. I see little prospect of appeal doing anything but increasing the already enormous costs.”

The Duchess might have won ‘Hands Down’ but for other people it’s now ‘Hands Up’ time.

“This is a hard and costly lesson for the Mail,” continued Heffer. “It appears that there are only side issues left to be decided, such as whether there was any joint authorship of the letter to her father.”

Mind you, regarding ‘misuse of very private information’, one wonders whether that might cover some of the revelations from Monday’s broadcast.

The LegalDiarist

In this week’s edition

+ LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

– STOP PRESS – THIS MORNING ON MYANMAR

No Fraudulent Statement at PCB Byrne

– Pity the Poor Lawyer

– Family Funding

– Pet Grievance

– Security Check

+ LEGAL PRACTICE ISSUE OF THE WEEK

How life platforms are helping probate specialists

+ LEGAL ISSUE OF THE WEEK

Should the Silentnight anti-avoidance case settlement be a concern to lenders?

+ APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK

THE LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

STOP PRESS – THIS MORNING FOR MYANMAR

The Republic of the Union of Myanmar has publicly announced that it has instructed Volterra Fietta to advise on and pursue international legal proceedings against the illegitimate military regime that is responsible for the violent armed aggression directed against the people of Myanmar and their legitimate democratic representatives.” 

As announced by what is said to be Myanmar’s sole legitimate representative, the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (the “CRPH”), Volterra Fietta will support Myanmar to hold to account the perpetrators of these flagrant international laws violations before all relevant fora.

The CRPH’s recent announcement stated: “[…] Myanmar, through the CRPH, has formally engaged the leading public international law firm Volterra Fietta to advise on and pursue international legal proceedings against the unconstitutional and illegitimate military regime responsible for the violent armed aggression directed against the people of Myanmar and their legitimate democratic representatives from 1 February 2021.  Such international law proceedings will take time but we will pursue them vigorously and steadfastly, so as to hold to account the perpetrators of these widespread and systematic human rights violations, including soldiers, police and common criminals.  We are gathering large volumes of evidence for use in such proceedings.  Myanmar’s legal team is led by Robert Volterra, one of the world’s most respected public international law specialists, and Álvaro Nistal, who has advised numerous States and victims in relation to human rights violations.  Volterra Fietta will support Myanmar’s efforts using the largest team of public international law experts in any firm in the world.  They advise and represent States from every continent, in proceedings before the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court and other international courts and tribunals.

NOTE: Volterra Fietta’s founding partner is Robert Volterra, first and only non-UK barrister on the UK Attorney General public international law panel A-list, Visiting Professor of International Law at UCL and Visiting Senior Lecturer at King’s College, London, and who has helped draft the founding treaties of a number of international bodies.

No Fraudulent Statement

For once the PR statement this morning about the creation of a new firm via a merger was not overhyped.Byrne and Partners and PCB Litigation have today announced that they will be merging on 1 April 2021, bringing together two like-minded, dynamic market leaders in fraud litigation to form a new top-tier firm specialising in all forms of dispute resolution – PCB Byrne.

It’s true. The LegalDiarist has known both firms for many years and has always been impressed by their quality. Plus, as the statement went on to say,The firm is also scaling up its work across Asia, the Middle East, Russia and the CIS, enhancing the firm’s presence in these key markets.” This all makes good sense. PCB Byrne should do very well. Mind you a big credit must go to Steven Philippsohn, now with Asserson, who was the original brain behind PCB. At times like these it’s important to remember the debt owed by today’s partners to yesterday’s founders.

Pity the Poor Lawyer

What’s wrong with our stingy UK corporates? Why do they only spend half of what their American cousins do on legal advice? Don’t they realise that London law firm partners have increasingly expensive second homes, school fees and (now impending) Caribbean holidays to pay for?

Apparently not. According to the latest research from Thomson Reuters in its ‘ 2021 State of Corporate Law Departments’ report.UK corporates last year spent just 0.18% of their annual revenue on in-house and external legal services. By contrast US corporates wrote cheques amounting to 0.32% of revenue. (Mind you, across the Channel they were even meaner than the Brits.German companies spent just 0.13% while the French, predictably, came in with just 0.11% – no doubt with President Macron arguing that legal advice doesn’t work for the over-65s).

The irony of this is that lawyers are working harder than ever with the report showing that 58% of corporate law departments experienced a surge in workload as a result of the pandemic. Yet only 6% experienced an increase in their total legal budget to deal with this influx of work and 29% said that their budget had been cut. Moreover those cuts are likely to be exacerbated by big drops in corporate turn-over as the virus continues to bite into the respective economies.

But there is going to be no drop off in work load. In fact judged purely on volume of work lawyers are facing a boom due to the disputes which are predicted to surface as Covid levels gradually drop. How to pay for all this, however, will be the big question. So squaring that vicious circle is going to have to rely on technology. Around 30% of law departments globally are increasing their spend on technology, compared with only 11% decreasing spend. Meanwhile 44% of departments are increasing their use of technology tools compared with just 2% decreasing. As with most of our other problems the answer needs to be technical.

Family Funding

Third party funding is now well-established for corporates but at the family level it is still in its infancy (or barely that). That is why Ampla Finance has just launched what they claim is a ‘first’ in publishing a guide to legal funding for family solicitors.

We’re pleased to provide what we are sure will be a useful tool for family lawyers and their compliance teams,” said author of the report, Nigel Shepherd.I know from my many years as a practitioner that when it comes to discussing the funding options with clients it can be difficult to provide the information and help clients’ needs, whilst at the same time remaining in step with regulatory obligations. This guidance flags up the key issues and through practical examples helps practitioners to develop a consistent and client-focused approach.

Whilst the volume of guidance around litigation funding at consumer level is significant, this seems not to be the case with ‘profession-facing’ advice.. “As such, we believe there is a real gap in the market for clear advice for lawyers, which we hope to fill with this guidance,” said Louise Hall, Ampla’s Commercial Director

The guide will be made available to all family law practitioners and their compliance teams while more detailed advice from barrister Mr Popplewell at Gough Square Chambers will be provided to Ampla Finance partner firms.

To download a copy of the guide, click here.

Pet Grievance

Why not let the dog decide?

Now here’s a perfect storm brewing. During the C-crisis lots more people have bought pets (you can see them walking them in the park every day). But the chances are that because of the C-crisis there’s also going to be a lot more domestic break-ups a soon as the lockdown comes off (and people can get to see their lawyers). So what happens to those pets?

This is the problem exercising Hannah Gumbrill-Ward, Solicitor, Winckworth Sherwood. “Can you get a custody agreement to regulate the time you and your ex each get to spend with your pet?” she asks. “And is there anything you can do to protect yourself against a dispute about your pet? No matter how much you consider that your pet is like a child, unfortunately its welfare needs are unlikely to be taken into consideration and there is no court-ordered pet equivalent of a child arrangements order, the English version of a child custody agreement.”

So this is a genuine problem. “Research undertaken by a pet insurance provider in 2019 found that 25% of divorce cases between 2018 and 2019 involved issues around the family pet. With pet ownership having sky-rocketed during the pandemic, it is logical to assume that pet issues will only become more prevalent within divorce and financial proceedings going forward. With 88% of people saying they would prioritise their pet over access to their ex’s pension funds, perhaps it is time to revisit the legal status of pets?”

The answer is seems is a pet pre-nup. “There has been a 24% increase in the number of requests family lawyers are receiving to draw up ‘pet nups’ for their animal loving clients. It is not just lawyers who would encourage couples to give as much thought to the protection of their pets as they would their other assets. The charity Blue Cross has created a downloadable pet nup to help couples plan for their pets’ futures and hopefully prevent the number of pets given to re-homing centres.”

‘Woof, woof!’ Or maybe ‘Miaoh!” [You take one, I’ll take the other? Sorry, just started a cat fight]

Security Check

Not what they claim to be?

This Legal Diary is the antidote to celebrity gossip but if you need to wean yourself off an unhealthy diet of Sussexiting then a good dose of Dechert’s 2020 Developments in U.S. Securities Fraud Class Actions Against Non-U.S. Issuers will see you right.

It certainly makes sobering reading. During the global pandemic it has become clear that a listed company does not need to be based in the U.S. to face potential securities class action liability in the U.S. courts. Indeed, maybe because of the pandemic the majority of the suits are linked to the biotechnology and medical equipment fields with a significant number based on allegations relating to the non-U.S. issuer’s approval by or compliance with U.S. regulatory agencies.

In particular several of the lawsuits alleged that defendants misrepresented their prospects of approval by the FDA. In Kevin Alperstein, et al. v. Sona Nanotech Inc. the plaintiffs alleged that the defendant, a Canadian medical supplier, made positive press statements about its COVID-19 rapid detection antigen test, which proved to be unfounded. So the key piece of advice offered by Dechert to non-U.S. issuers is that they should be particularly carefully when making disclosures or statements to ‘speak truthfully’. Who would have guessed?

Book of Knowledge

And finally, when you seriously need distraction, reach for a copy of MAKING KNOWLEDGE WORK, a fascinating report from consultancy iManage on trends in knowledge management. Lawyers are very much part of this story but the report is excellent for stimulating thought for the future.“Really understanding how to make knowledge work achieve its highest and best use within organisations is a perspective shift that goes beyond enabling simple knowledge management. It requires putting into place an ecosystem for knowledge activation,” said Neil Araujo, CEO iManage.  “Organisations must have a breadth of capabilities at work that include collaboration, secure storage and retrieval, ability to work from anywhere, and capacity to curate and repurpose institutional knowledge – all delivered though a high-performance, reliable cloud service.  This empowers knowledge workers to create opportunities for unencumbered thinking, higher level productivity, and creativity that drives innovation and spurs new business opportunities.” Wow! Impressive stuff. ‘Unencumbered thinking’ is probably something we all need now.

MAKING KNOWLEDGE WORK is available to download here.

LEGAL PRACTICE ISSUE OF THE WEEK

How ‘life platforms’ are helping probate specialists.

Probate specialists often face difficulties when trying to find financial accounts tied to an estate. With a lack of hard copy, heightened account security and an excess of finance providers, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to track client’s assets. Is there an answer?

Ian Dibb, the founder of life planning platform, Once I’ve Gone believes that there is

One of the biggest struggles for probate specialists is retrieving and compiling information tied to a client’s estate after he or she has died. In fact, professionals report that in the past year, they struggled or even failed to locate a client’s assets in nearly a quarter of their cases. This is largely due to the increase in online banking meaning fewer physical cards and the introduction of facial or fingerprint recognition.

We need to be keeping up with these developments and finding innovative ways to ensure assets aren’t lost. One way to mitigate the potential difficulty or even loss of assets would be to encourage clients to utilise tools such as life-planning platforms. This new ‘tech’ encourages users to organise their estate by storing all their information in one place. One such platform is Once I’ve Gone which collates and protects all necessary information in three ways: document storage, messages and final wishes. 

The platform has been a huge success with relieving planning stresses for users, but there has been the same response from probate professionals. The current estimated figure for unclaimed assets in the UK is around £70bn, which is a huge hit for the probate industry. Professionals with an interest in probate have found huge benefits in partnering with platforms such as Once I’ve Gone and have made inroads with improving this figure. 

Dealing with more organised client estates would be a step in the right direction. Having all the policies, accounts and other assets in one place, and upfront, streamlines the process and allows specialists to do their job more thoroughly. It enables them to provide a quicker service, whilst also taking the stress off the grieving families’ shoulders. The hope is that these platforms offer a viable solution to this growing problem that probate specialists are facing. By encouraging clients to keep their estates organised and offering the tools to do so, there are huge benefits for both the industry and customer peace of mind.

LEGAL ISSUE OF THE WEEK

How can they sleep at night?

Should the Silentnight anti-avoidance case settlement be a concern to lenders?

Earlier this month the Pensions Regulator (TPR) agreed a settlement in an anti-avoidance case against the current owners of the bed manufacturer Silentnight.

TPR alleged that HIG Group, a US private equity group, deliberately brought about the unnecessary insolvency of the original Silentnight Group in order to buy its business out of administration but leaving its defined benefit pension scheme behind. HIG has now paid £25 million to the scheme. But what are the wider implications of the case? ask Kate Payne and Danyal Enver of Arc Pensions Law LLP

The Pensions Regulator has issued an ‘s89 intervention report’ in relation to the Silentnight Group Defined Benefit Scheme, detailing the £25 million settlement it has reached with American private equity firm, HIG. It is a case which will make lenders and investors take notice of the Regulator’s powers and consider whether they may be within the scope of enforcement action themselves.

The Regulator had sought to use its “moral hazard” anti-avoidance measures against HIG, accusing it of deliberately putting Silentnight (the scheme employer) into an “unnecessary insolvency”. It claimed HIG used the control it had available via lending facilities to do this. The report states HIG wanted to buy back Silentnight during administration, leaving the scheme behind, without funding and thereby force it to fall into the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).

The Regulator’s case involved expert testimony and forecasts to demonstrate both HIG’s control and also Silentnight’s likely post 2010 performance in the event that HIG had not had that control. Through this it aimed to show that Silentnight could and would have refinanced, continued to trade profitably and funded the scheme, but for HIG’s involvement.

The settlement amount is not enough to keep the scheme from entering the PPF (even with an additional £10m recovered for the scheme from the insolvency process). While this shows the Regulator may negotiate settlements to achieve certainty for scheme members, it is primarily an example of the Regulator showing its teeth against several “well resourced” targets including successfully defending a judicial review.

The Regulator may continue to take this wider view of who could be a target of its powers as it looked to extend the concept of who is ‘connected and associated’ – and this could be a matter of concern to lenders. It could also be a taste of things to come now that it has wider powers under the Pension Schemes Act 2021.

Kate Payne is a Partner and Danyal Enver an Associate with Arc Pensions Law LLP

LEGAL APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK

CHARLOTTE SYMES and MARIKO WILSON appointed Directors at Family Law in Partnership

Family Law in Partnership (“FliP”), the central London, multi-professional specialist family law practice, has announced that Charlotte Symes and Mariko Wilson have been appointed as directors of FLiP with effect from 1 April 2021. Charlotte and Mariko were previously Senior Associates at FLiP.

Charlotte Symes

Charlotte Symes deals with complex financial issues arising from divorce and separation including those relating to businesses, investments, tax and pensions. Her work has a strong international dimension, with a particular focus on French matters as she is a fluent French speaker. She is a trained mediator and collaborative practitioner, drawing on these skills to deliver a variety of process options for her clients.

Charlotte is recommended in The Legal 500 UK 2021 and was named as a Rising Star in The Spear’s 500 Index of leading family lawyers.

Mariko Wilson

Mariko Wilson handles all aspects of private family law and has a broad range of experience, frequently acting for high-net-worth individuals in financial relief and divorce proceedings as well as acting in children matters. She has a particular expertise in cases involving complex pensions and tax issues. She has recently been appointed to the Pensions Tax and Financial Remedies Committee of Resolution and has been named as a Rising Star in The Spear’s 500 Index of leading family lawyers and in The Legal 500 UK 2021.

See more at website at www.flip.co.uk

WEBINARS, BLOGS AND THE REST OF THE WEEK


BRITISH-SWISS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Shadow IT: A Silent Enemy at the Gates

HOW TO PREVENT UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES
The Zurich Chapter in collaboration with HewardMills would like to invite you to a 60 minutes virtual training event on how to prevent potential serious unintended consequences caused by Shadow IT.

‘Shadow IT’ refers to the apps in the cloud, used or downloaded by employees of an organisation without the knowledge of the IT Department.During the webinar you will receive practical recommendations on how to control Privacy and Security accountability of companies and employees; how to avoid serious compliance infringements due to inadequate software usage policies; which IT behaviours should be controlled and, in case, scrutinised and challenged. The impact of a non-malicious insider threat could be heavy to bear and you should know how to avoid it.

We look forward to seeing you online.For more information on our event and speaker please click HERE. 

SPEAKER Giampiero Nanni | Data Protection & Privacy Consultant

WHEN Tuesday, 13 April 2021
13:00 – 14:00 CET

WHERE Online
REGISTRATION FEEBSCC Members and Guests | Free
Non-members and Guests | 25 CHF REGISTER NOW Please do register early if you would like to join as places are limited.  Kindly hosted by

🎉 





Thank you to our fantastic listeners for over 2000 downloads! Our latest episode, which is out now, looks at an area of the law that often has a big impact on children’s lives, their families & how they grow up.  
We speak to family lawyer Charlotte Bradley about what happens when families split up When parents decide to split up, whether they are married or not, it is often a really difficult time and a very upsetting and confusing situation for children – especially so as adults are usually the ones to help children sort things out. 

In this episode, Alma-Constance asks 
Charlotte Bradley, who is the Head of the Family law team at Kingsley Napley, all about the law when it comes to families splitting up and how the law tries to help children in these situations.
 Charlotte is an experienced lawyer and mediator who has helped many families sort out their problems and campaigned for the voices of children to be heard when family relationships breakdown. 

To listen to her answers to the above questions, click the button below!Listen here

We are aiming to be back next week to celebrate ONE YEAR of Edward Fennell’s LEGAL DIARY.

So please send your stories, comment and insights to

fennell.edward@yahoo.com

to appear in our First Birthday edition

Edward Fennell’s LEGAL DIARY

Friday 5 March 2021 Edition 48

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

SHORT THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

WHEN’S THE RIGHT TIME TO SAY GOOD-BYE?

Harry and Meghan knew when time was up – why don’t others?
(Courtesy of Sky Spitting Image)

This week’s tale of two lawyers illustrates that the old etiquette of knowing when to resign and when to stand and fight misconduct allegations has completely frayed.

One lawyer is accused of lying, breaking sacred confidences and proceeding against prudent advice. She stays on. Another is caught up in a decade-old complaint which bounces around between various tribunals. He caves in on the grounds that the dispute is becoming a distraction. Where’s the consistency and where’s the consensus in wider society over good governance whether that be by the First Minister of Scotland or the President of the Law Society (or even the head of diversity at Deloitte’s).

Having a top job in any organisation – such as a law firm, in government or in business – increasingly carries with it the risk of accusations of bullying, sexual misbehaviour, discrimination, fraud. No longer is anyone ‘innocent until proved guilty’. Instead it is a matter of how brazen you are to tough it out. This might not be a matter for the law but some consistency on what constitutes ‘doing the right thing’ in these circumstances would be welcome. (But maybe no return to the bottle of whisky and a loaded gun in the library).

The Legaldiarist

In this week’s edition

+ The Legal Diary of the Week

– Old Bangers and Big Bangers at Macfarlane

Barristers on a Budget

Cooley Cashes In

My vaccine or yours?

+ SPECIAL REPORT OF THE WEEK

PRIVATE PROSECUTIONS FUNDING TO BE REFORMED

+ LEGAL ANALYSIS OF THE WEEK

TAKING VAX TO THE MAX

+ APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK

+ PODCASTS AND VIRTUAL CONFERENCES

THE LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

Old Bangers or Big Bangers?

That was then – now it’s BIG BANG 2.0

By any standard David Gauke, previously the Lord Chancellor, is a decent man. He took his stand over Brexit and paid the price, ending his political career for the foreseeable future. But with such a track record it is no surprise to see him back at his old firm Macfarlanes as the head of the firm’s Public Policy practice. And it must be said that it is somewhat ironic to see him now fronting up on the firm’s (excellent) new briefing publication on Big Bang 2.0 which explores the potential benefits to the City post-Brexit.

“What might Big Bang 2.0 look like,” the firm asks. “Freed from the constraints of EU membership and EU rules, how might the UK reform financial services regulations to enable the City and the wider sector to flourish in the post-Brexit era?”

The report offers an impressive series of seventeen areas where it would be possible to do things differently. “Our purpose here is not to advocate for or against any particular reforms but to set out the options and the relevant factors in determining whether to proceed with any such reforms,” says Gauke,

And that’s when the document becomes pretty technical. AIFMD? CRD4? PRIIPs? FSCs? Yes, they are all here and the Chancellor (if not the Prime Minister) will no doubt be weighing them up as soon as he’s recovered from his Budget battering. But the Macfarlanes’ analysis is not just vague ‘what-iffery’ – the areas are specific and the pros-and-cons examined with forensic care .If you want real thought leadership this is what it looks like. Go to

Barristers on a Budget

Yes, it’s us again

Along with the care sector the justice system was feeling distinctly ignored following this week’s Budget. With lifebelts being hurled to all and sundry across the economy, carers and barristers have a good claim to feel they are being left (one again) to drown.

“With parts of our justice system facing unprecedented challenges, a 56,000 case backlog in the Crown Court and some victims of crime having to wait until 2023 before they are likely see justice done, it is disappointing to see no extra funding emerging from the Treasury in today’s Budget announcement,” said the Chair of the Bar Council, Derek Sweeting QC. “The Chancellor has turned a blind eye to law and order and settled for stretching last year’s commitments to cover the future survival of our justice system. It’s not enough. Although additional funding for domestic abuse is welcome, access to legal aid for the victims of this crime remains means-tested, denying the many who suffer at the hands of violent abusers living in their owns homes from gaining access to justice. Once again, the Ministry of Justice, the courts and the wider justice system are the poor relations in the Treasury’s priorities.”

The justice system has been in crisis for so long now it feels as if things will never change. But one day it might just pop.

Just What?

Although it clearly escaped the notice of the Chancellor this is JUSTICE WEEK – and today’s the final BIG day. Organised by the Law Society, the Bar Council and CILEX there have been events for the past four days. And today’s theme apparently is ‘The Big Legal Lesson’. We tried to find out more about what this meant via the Law Society website. However as you are aware, the Society has been facing acute difficulties recently – after all it is not quite every week they lose a President – so maybe no surprise that the link did not work. But we are sure it will be marvellous.

Cooley Cashes In

With Gold Standard Certification from the Women in Law Empowerment Forum for nine consecutive years and consistently perfect scores on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index, Cooley has a good track record on diversity. But it’s new UK Diversity Fellowship programme offers an intriguingly fresh approach by supporting new entrants to the legal profession to act as catalysts for change within their own communities. Under the scheme ‘outstanding students committed to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion’ are given an award of up to £12,000 to assist with tuition and study expenses. “In addition to being high academic achievers, successful applicants will demonstrate a commitment to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in their local communities or elsewhere,” says the firm.

This bottom-up approach has already been tried and tested in the USA explains Claire Temple, Cooley’s London office training principal. “Our programme in the US has been extremely successful, and we have a vibrant Diversity Fellowship alumni group. We look forward to replicating this track record in the UK and to working with Cooley’s next generation.”

My vaccine or yours?

Pfizer or AstraZenica?

Given that right now the names ‘AstraZenica’ and ‘Pfizer’ rank only marginally less significant in our lives than ‘Harry’ and ‘Meghan’ we decided to stroll back through the archives to Spring 2014 when a take-over of AstraZenica by its US rival was a hot legal issue. Anthony Woolich of Holman Fenwick Willan was quoted in The Times as saying, ”Attempted take-overs of this kind are governed by EU Regulations, meaning that it falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of the European Commission.”

Very quickly the matter had become quite a political football. “As usual the politicians have plunged in, talking about things they don’t understand,” sighed Edward Craft of Wedlake Bell. Nonetheless the absence of influence of the UK government in the matter was one of the factors which fed into the Brexit debate.

Naturally the question arises that if the takeover of the Anglo-Swedish business by the American giant had gone ahead would we now have have one vaccine or two? Would it be stored in a domestic fridge or a deep freeze? And would President Macron have sneered that it did not work.? Ah, one of the many great ‘What ifs’ of history.

Go Whistle for it

A new report, Are Whistleblowing Laws Working? A Global Study of Whistleblower Protection Litigation has been published bythe International Bar Association(IBA) Legal Policy & Research Unit(LPRU) and Government Accountability Project,which tracks the records of whistleblower laws in 38 countries. Depressingly it provides an unprecedented source for understanding the successes and, more significantly, shortcomings of whistleblower protection legislation worldwide.

‘We found that in most jurisdictions the laws are underused,” said Samantha Feinstein, Government Accountability Project Staff Attorney and Deputy Director of the International Program. “Where there have been cases, whistleblowers experience a poor success rate. In the few instances where they do succeed, whistleblowers are typically awarded meagre compensation. On this basis we make a number of recommendations for legislators and regulators, including greater transparency and ongoing review of these laws. Governments should prioritise public education to address underlying cultural stigma and ensure those who speak up know their rights.’”

Click here to download a PDF of Are Whistleblowing Laws Working? A Global Study of Whistleblower Protection Litigation
www.ibanet.org/Document/Default.aspx?DocumentUid=49c9b08d-4328-4797-a2f7-1e0a71d0da55

SPECIAL REPORT OF THE WEEK

PRIVATE PROSECUTIONS FUNDING TO BE REFORMED FOLLOWING THE FLAWED POST OFFICE CASES

At long last some good is starting to emerge from the scandalous way in which the Post Office erroneously pursued its own Sub-Postmasters on charges of fraud. The real fault, as we now fully understand, lay with its own botched computer system. 

Following an inquiry prompted by the controversial private prosecutions the Government has agreed this week to change the rules on the payment of lawyers’ fees in some criminal trials so that defence and prosecution are on an equal footing,“The current rules are unfair and favour the prosecution over the defence,” said the House of Commons Justice Committee.

 The Committee’s report  Private prosecutions: safeguards was published in the Autumn last year and the Government’s response, announced yesterday, was overwhelmingly positive in tone. Chair of the Justice Committee, Sir Bob Neill, said,  “I am delighted that the Government has decided to support one of our recommendations and, crucially, has given a commitment to legislate. 

 Our inquiry found that the present arrangements for funding private prosecutions are unfair. Currently, a private prosecutor can recover all their costs from public funds even if the defendant is acquitted. This gives an unfair incentive to the prosecution because, by contrast, an acquitted defendant can only recover costs capped at legal aid rates. The Government’s response commits to legislate to ensure that the legal aid cap also applies to private prosecutors. This is a welcome levelling of the playing field”.  

 The Post Office case also exposed troubling features regarding private prosecutions generally. As the Justice Committee report pointed out, there appeared to be a lack of oversight from the authorities over the growing number of private prosecutions currently taking place. In the Post Office case, for example, it seemed that the only institution aware of the very large number of cases being brought by the Post Office was the Post Office itself.  

 The Justice Committee report therefore recommended that HM Court and Tribunals Service should establish a central register to keep track of all private prosecutions in England and Wales.“The lack of internal or external oversight of the Post Office’s approach to prosecutions is an issue which speaks to a broader concern,” said the report. “Examples of prosecutions brought by the Post Office and the RSPCA suggest that it is not sufficient to rely on the courts alone to identify and remedy problematic prosecutorial practices.”  

 The Government agreed with the Committee that such a register would go some way towards correcting the oversight issue and added that one would be established by the end of this year.  

This long and sorry saga – which resulted in premature deaths, suicides and financial devastation among those affected – is not quite over. But at last the gaps and unfairness in the system are being addressed.

LEGAL ANALYSIS OF THE WEEK

TAKING VAX TO THE MAX

How far can employers demand it? asks Mini Setty

Mini Setty of Langleys

‘No jab, no job’ could be a dangerous approach for employers to take. There is not enough evidence to suggest taking the vaccine makes everyone’s working environment safe. If an employer tries to force their employees to receive the jab or decides not to hire someone based on their refusal to get the jab, it could be result in employment claims, for unfair dismissal and/or discrimination.

However, in circumstances where a person is working in the healthcare sector, or with vulnerable children and adults, and refuses to get the vaccine, there may well be more validity to the request by the employer for vaccinations. Fortunately, there is already a legal framework that sets out what employers can and can’t do in the name of health and safety at work, but as things stand, there is not legal right for an employer to demand its employee is vaccinated.

Vaccinations create a conflict of legal protections, where the freedom of individual choice is weighed against the health and safety of others. Some employees may have a justifiable reason for not wanting to take the vaccine, and we would always urge employers to discuss an employee’s reluctance, whether it be related to a disability or religious reasons.

Additionally, in all cases, every other option would need to be exhausted before dismissal was to be considered. For example, they could ask an employee if they can work from home, or to consider switching to a role that would mean they are coming into contact with fewer people in order to effectively safeguard against the potential risk.

If no solution can be found, there could be serious ramifications for the employers if they dismissed or refused jobs. It is likely that we will see a significant increase in cases brought before the employment tribunal to decide the rights of employers vs employees.”

Mini Setty is a Partner in Employment Law at Langleys Solicitors

APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK

Lincoln Tsang

Ropes & Gray has appointed Dr Lincoln Tsang as a partner and head of its European Life Sciences practice, based in London.

Qualified in law, medical and pharmaceutical science Dr Tsang is a former senior UK regulator and advisor to numerous EU and global governmental authorities. He specialises in advising clients on UK, EU and cross-border regulatory compliance and enforcement, including litigation, internal investigations and public policy matters concerning the life sciences industry. “Dr Tsang’s  arrival supports our strategy of becoming London’s pre-eminent international law firm for private capital clients – many of whom are actively investing in the life sciences industry – alongside advising some of the world’s leading healthcare companies,” said Will Rosen, managing partner of Ropes & Gray’s London office.

Anne Frances Cooney

Ann Frances Cooney has joined DWF as a Partner in its employment practice in Glasgow. Formerly with Addleshaw Goddard where she was a Legal Director and head of the Glasgow employment team, Cooney has extensive experience including advising on industrial relations & strike action, handling Board and C-Suite severance negotiations & settlement agreements, international mobility, discrimination and ill health management.

“I am delighted that Ann Frances is joining DWF to lead our employment practice in Scotland,” said Joanne Frew, UK head of employment at DWF. “Her experience and reputation in the market aligns with our business’ deep pedigree in supporting clients though a huge range of employment matters.”

PODCAST OF THE WEEK

Interview with Lord Neuberger

The latest Kids Law Podcast from the Next 100 Years featuring Lord Neuberger, former president of the Supreme Court and member of the House of Lords, is now available.

In this episode Lord Neuberger answering questions on what justice means, why it is important and the chaos that would ensue without it. He explains the role of parliament, civil servants and judges in making laws and why he believes children don’t learn enough about the how the country is run and should be taught more about law and justice at school.

To listen go to the following link: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1577473/8045640

BRITISH-SWISS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

The Future of British-Swiss Financial Sector Collaboration
WHAT NOW FOR EUROPE’S TWO LARGEST FINANCIAL CENTRES?
This BSCC event will take a look at the UK-Swiss relationship in financial services and the future potential for both countries following the signing of the joint statement by Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer on deepening relations in the financial sector. This set out the aim of liberalising and expanding mutual market access in the areas of banking, asset management, insurance and market infrastructure.  At a video-conference on 27 January 2021, the two ministers agreed on the next steps for the negotiations of an agreement based on the principle of mutual recognition of the applicable financial market regulation and the relevant supervisory framework.SPEAKERSAmbassador Stefan Flückiger, Deputy State Secretary for International Finance & Richard Knox, Director, Financial Services (International),
H M Treasury, will share an update on the status of negotiations.
Patrick Odier, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Bank Lombard Odier & Co., will reflect on the ambition of the UK and Switzerland’s financial sector to closer align and achieve excellence in sustainability and share the business opportunities he foresees.
Joe Cassidy, Lead Partner on FS Strategy & Financial Markets Infrastructure, KPMG will moderate a panel of distinguished experts and 
Dr. Robert Barnes, CEO, Turquoise Global Holdings, London Stock Exchange Group will give a speech entitled: The Elegance of Equivalence.All delegates are encouraged to participate in the debate.

Further information can be found here.

WHEN Wednesday 14 April 2021

16.00 – 17.30 (UK time)
17.00 – 18.30 (CET time)

WHERE Online REGISTRATION FEEBSCC Members and Guests | Free of charge

Non-members and Guests | £40.00
REGISTER NOW

We aim to be back again next week so send your news, insights, comments and legal analysis to

fennell.edward @yahoo.com

and please circulate this edition to your colleagues

Edward Fennell’s LEGAL DIARY

Friday 26 February 2021 Edition 47

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

SHORT THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

Does ‘Anywhere’ look like this?

WFH, WFA, WTF?

Apologies to the Legal Diary’s regular reader for returning once more to this topic but where trend-setting and super-cool dude Mishcon de Reya leads, this humble Legal Diary has to follow. As you will have seen from the legal press, the firm’s managing partner James Libson has just issued new guidance that the firm will now permit all its staff and lawyers unlimited remote and flexible working. Given that the end of lockdown is in sight it looks like we can now say goodbye, definitively, to WFH. Instead, welcome with flags and tickertape WFA (‘working from anywhere’).

As usual the lawyers are not the first movers on the new trend. Sensibly. they have allowed other brave souls to take that risk – but they are not far behind. Just last week for example Spotify announced that it would be allowing its workforce to work remotely permanently beyond the pandemic. Paul Bennett, CEO of Perchpeek, an AI-powered relocation app, predicts a surge in WFA policies this spring as businesses look ahead to the future. “Putting the employee front and centre of where they do their best work allows for the hiring of a more diverse work force, allows [organisations] to retain top talent and allows for the repurposing of offices to be more focussed on social collaboration,” he said. “We’re on the cusp of one of the greatest migrations in working history.”

So how important will a law firm’s address be in the future? All those debates we used to have about being a ‘City’ or ‘West End’ firm – or even a ‘regional’ firm – already seem so tawdry and 20th century. All the LegalDiarist can suggest is, ‘Don’t renew the season ticket’.

The Legaldiarist.

In this week’s edition

+ LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

Revving Up Posh Drivers

– Slaving A Way (of life)

Freelances gain better prospects

GROWing Up – A mentorship scheme which works

– Democracy (not) on Princes Street

+ LEGAL ANALYSIS OF THE WEEK

1. BREXIT BREACHES BRITS’ RIGHTS ABROAD

2. WHAT BREXIT MEANS LEGALLY FOR BUSINESS

+ APPOINTMENT OF THE WEEK

+ LEGAL ARTWORK OF THE WEEK: Clifford Chance’s Printmaking Prize

+ WEBINARS OF THE WEEK

THE LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK

– Revving Up Posh Drivers

Badge of shame?

 At Editorial meetings for the Legal Diary the assumption is that our regular reader drives a Porsche so this story is right up your autobahn. Leigh Day, normally regarded as the champion of the poor, weary and downtrodden but now one of the key firms pursuing Volkswagen over those dodgy emission tests, has just announced that it is widening its claim for alleged NOx emissions cheating to include Porsche and Audi brand vehicles.  This follows Porsche being fined €535 million by German prosecutors for cheating diesel emissions tests after finding “negligent breaches of supervisory duties” at the company.

“The group claim we are [now] investigating relates to newer and larger models of diesel vehicles manufactured by the Volkswagen Group and includes Porsche, Audi, Volkswagen, Volkswagen commercial[etc,],” said  Leigh Day solicitor Shazia Yamin  “This is the second group claim against the Volkswagen Group, and one of several emissions cases being investigated by Leigh Day. The allegation that manufacturers would deliberately cheat such tests and in doing so pollute our air with unlawful levels of NOx is incredibly serious .We urge anyone who believes they may have a claim to go to the Leigh Day website and complete the form to check if they are eligible.”

So expect a rush at https://www.leighday.co.uk/latest-updates/news/2021-news/leigh-day-launches-emissions-group-claim-against-porsche/

Slaving A Way (of life)

 Baker McKenzie was Headline Sponsor for the 2021 Stop Slavery award’ which was held virtually this week. The firm has been involved with the awards since their launch and helped to develop the questionnaire for the Stop Slavery Enterprise Award (won this year by Hewlett Packard Enterprise) which highlights best practice in corporate commitment and reporting. “While COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on the world’s population, it has brought to light the prevalence of modern slavery in society – whether in the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the products we use every day,” said Alyssa Auberger, Baker McKenize’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “As a firm, we are proud to support the work that is being done across the world to highlight what is one of the most overlooked global issues of our generation, and to fight for those who need help.”

But there is no scope for complacency. In fact quite the opposite. Yesterday the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC) said that the UK Modern Slavery Act had failed in its objective to protect victims of forced labour due to the trifling level of reporting required from companies and lack of government enforcement. Depressingly after collecting five years’ worth of statements  the centre’s  Modern Slavery Registry revealed no significant improvements in companies’ policies or practice.The Modern Slavery Act doesn’t place any legally binding standards on companies to eliminate forced labour and the meagre requirements on companies aren’t enforced,” says Thulsi Narayanasamy, Senior Labour Rights Lead, BHRRC “This points to a troubling lack of commitment to addressing these abuses. Tens of millions of workers are in forced labour – working in mines, on farms, in factories; to produce the everyday goods in our cupboards and wardrobes – bad businesses must be compelled to root this out of their supply chains.” 

For more go to: https://www.business-humanrights.org/en/

Freelances gain better prospects

Don’t worry – you won’t be working here. (But who does?)

As WFA (working from anywhere – see Short Thought above) increases its grip on the legal profession, the lines might become blurred between those who are in full-time employment and their cousins who, for one reason or another, prefer a more flexible engagement. This applies particularly to outfits such as Vario, Pinsent Mason’s flexible offer based on freelance lawyers, paralegals and other professional services consultants. And it has been underlined further by the firm’s announcement that Vario will start to offer learning and career development tools (under the title ‘Vario Advance’) to selected members of its workforce.

This is an important development. One of the drawbacks for freelances has been their exclusion from the professional development opportunities available to the permanent team. By now making some of this available in conjunction with ‘Bridge’ (a performance management platform) there are wins on both sides – the freelances gain more scope for career development while the Vario skill base is enhanced. “We believe we are one of the first – if not the first – contract lawyering provider to offer flexible training on this scale,” said Matthew Kay, Managing Director of Vario. “The combination of an innovative ALSP (alternative legal services provider) with a leading global law firm means that we benefit from the infrastructure, knowledge and expertise of Pinsent Masons. It’s because of this that we are now able to offer Vario Advance….it also demonstrates our ongoing commitment to investing in and developing our freelance community.”

Yes, WFA for an ALSP – that’s the enticing future which beckons us all.

GROWing Up – A mentorship scheme which works

Mentoring is increasingly recognised as the way to enhance career prospects for young lawyers especially those who have no ‘inherited’ familiarity with the profession.

So the GROW legal mentoring initiative, set up a year ago by Justin Farrance, a trainee solicitor with Allen & Overy, has much to commend it.

In an important breakthrough Coventry University has now announced that it will be the first university to join the scheme. “GROW supports students from the UK and the US by breaking down barriers when entering the legal profession,” said a spokesperson for the programme. “Students are assigned a mentor who is able to offer them tailored advice based on having something in common with them, such as the law firm they aspire to join, degree background, having the same alma mater, or membership of the same under-represented community.”

 Sharan Dhaddaassociate lecturer and Coventry Law School’s liaison with GROW, said, “This initiative is a means to connect aspiring lawyers with legal professionals. It allows students to gain an insight into what working life is truly like and provides them with a direct line with people who have taken a similar path. The driving force behind this programme is to enhance social mobility, diversity and inclusivity in the legal industry. The legal profession can seem somewhat daunting, however Grow helps to minimise that by connecting the two worlds.”

For more go to https://growmentoring.wixsite.com/grow

Democracy on Princes Street?

Holyrood: Looks in need of repair?

“In functioning democracies, an independent legal profession is a much-valued cornerstone of the rule of law,” said Sternford Moyo , the president of the International Bar Association (IBA) this week. “Unfortunately, where governments wish to silence dissent, we have witnessed many instances of the abuse of regulatory power, with lawyers being jailed for carrying out their professional duties, simply because they represent a client who is critical of the government or head of a nation. The news reports are numerous and impossible to ignore. An independent legal profession, free from governmental interference, is essential.”

Now, I know that you are probably thinking that these remarks were directed at the Sturgeon regime in Edinburgh. Good guess but not quite right. They were actually aimed at a panel of high-ranking United Nations Member States’ representative as a response to a  new report on barriers to achieving the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Mind you, it probably ticks some boxes for an ‘independent’ Scotland too.

LEGAL ANALYSIS OF THE WEEK: BREXIT

(1) BREXIT BREACHES BRITS’ RIGHTS ABROAD

suggests Leon Fernando Del Canto

Maybe we won’t get there this year after all

New post-Brexit visa rules are having significant repercussions on workers in the creative industry. In an open letter by arts union Equity, signed by British stars including Sir Ian McKellen and Julie Walters, the British government is being urged to lobby for the restoration of visa-free work in the EU.

The pandemic has caused significant work loss to Britain’s creative industry, and now Brexit red tape is requiring them to apply for short-term work permits to work freely in Europe.

Under ‘non-EU citizens rules of stay’, a person can visit visa-free for maximum 90 out of the last 180 days. The rule is very strict and illegal stay could result in banishment from the country for at least three years. There is no leeway for family emergencies, dealing with property damage or any other emergency. Information of all stays are recorded in immigration databases and staying longer than the visa allows in any of the 26 Schengen zone countries will not go unnoticed.

Against this backdrop, an important consideration is that almost half a million British citizens own second homes within the Schengen zone – many belonging to creative professionals who purchased them before 31 December 2020. We are currently considering the applicability, of the the first Protocol, Article 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) – of which the UK is still a member – which states that people have a legal right to peacefully enjoy the possession of their home.

This means that by denying individuals from peacefully enjoying their possession, these EU countries are possibly opening themselves up to litigation by potentially infringing British citizens’ human rights.

The EHCR defined that the article in question contains three distinct rules, including a/ the general principle of peaceful enjoyment of property; b/ the rule that a deprivation of possessions should be subject to certain conditions; and c/ that states are entitled to control the use of property in accordance with the general interest by enforcing such laws as they deem necessary for this purpose.

Preventing someone from peacefully enjoying their property, independently of whether it is their main residence, appears to directly contravene the right enshrined in the article. 

It is fundamental to take expert legal advice before starting any actions and consider that the person must have used all the remedies in the State concerned that could provide redress for the alleged violation. This is a process that may take several years to be completed.

Although the process may take some time and there is still some research to be done to establish strong specific grounds, we are of the opinion that the case may have some merits and may be worth to be explored by anyone particularly affected by this rule.

Leon Fernando Del Canto is an international tax barrister based in London. He is the founder of Del Canto Chambers, an international tax legal Firm with a country focus on the UK and Spain. More details on chambers can be found athttps://delcantochambers.com/

(2) WHAT BREXIT MEANS LEGALLY FOR BUSINESS

With the Covid crisis covering up and confusing some of the worst effects of Brexit, AMY PEACEY clears the fog over the Channel to remind us of what businesses importing and exporting goods to and from the EU must now do.

Since 1 January 2021 EU law has ceased to apply in the UK, but, so far at least, the practical impact of Brexit on business has been commercial, not legal.

The immediate issues facing business relate to arrangements for trade with the EU. Signed on 24 December 2020, the UK and EU trade relationship is now governed by the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).

So what are the key issues for import and export of goods?

  • Preferential treatment – The TCA facilitates tariff free trade between the UK and EU, BUT this only applies to goods which comply with TCA rules of origin i.e. that the goods originate in the EU or UK. There are detailed provisions for determining where components are made and where products are assembled, which must be proved by obtaining a supplier’s declaration. In addition, in order to import or export goods to and from the EU, businesses require an economic operators’ registration and identification number (EORI).
  • New customs regime – Customs declarations are required for imports and exports. Now operating as a “third country”, a UK business importing goods from any EU country must complete detailed customs forms and comply with a customs regime. Although such compliance will be familiar to businesses used to importing goods from outside the EU e.g. China or the US, this is a new requirement for trade with the EU.
  • VAT – the rules relating to imports and exports to and from the EU have changed and the special rules that related to trade with EU countries no longer apply.
  • Product standards – The TCA provides no agreement for cross border product standards or regulation. Essentially compliance with regulations in the EU and UK is necessary if goods are to be offered for sale in both markets.
  • Packaging and labelling – product labelling and marking requirements have changed. Businesses need to update product labels to ensure dual compliance if goods are to be sold both in the UK and EU.

As evidence from the principal ports already suggests, businesses face a steep learning curve over the next few months as they adapt to the new trading environment.

 Amy Peacey is a Senior Associate at Clarke Willmott LLP.  She specialises in advising businesses on all matters relating to commercial contracts, including compliance with data protection legislation.

APPOINTMENT OF THE WEEK

Penrose Foss joins Clyde & Co

Penrose Foss

Clyde & Co has recruited Penrose Foss as a Partner in its London-based accountants’ liability and regulatory investigations team.

Previously Foss was the General Counsel of accountancy firm RSM for a decade. She has extensive experience of advising at Board level on major risk management issues as well as defending complex, high value professional negligence claims, large scale regulatory investigations and disciplinary proceedings.

Clyde & Co’s accountants’ liability and regulatory investigations team handles both contentious and non-contentious matters for accountancy firms. It is currently working on some of the largest regulatory investigations by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC).

LEGAL ARTWORK OF THE WEEK – LYDIA HAMBLET

Clifford Chance’s Printmaking Winner


OF ALL THESE GESTURES Screenprint 101 x 130 cm Image courtesy of Saatchi Gallery London. © Justin Piperger, 2020

For the past 24 years Clifford Chance has awarded an annual Postgraduate Printmaking Purchase Prize to the best printmaker completing their MA studies at a London art college. This reflects the firm’s long-standing commitment to supporting printmaking as the focus of its extensive art collection.

The winner this year, as announced in the past few days, is  Lydia Hamblet who completed her studies at the Royal College of Art in 2020. Lydia was selected from a shortlist of potential recipients drawn up by Clifford Chance’s long-term art advisers Frank/Hindley Art Consultants.

“Though circumstances to view their prints were severely circumscribed, we were privileged to look at the work of many hugely talented printmakers, from which we agreed to award our prize to Lydia Hamblet, said Mark Payne, Clifford Chance Partner and Chair of the firm’s Art Committee, “We found her work particularly engaging, as it explores ideas about shared personal experiences through a vibrant engagement with printmaking processes. We greatly look forward to seeing future works by Lydia and hope this Prize assists her to progress her printmaking career.’

The award fund will be used by Lydia towards studio space and materials, with the intent of preparing for a solo show.’

More examples of Lydia Hamblet’s work can be viewed here.

WEBINARS OF THE WEEK

COLLYER BRISTOW

Webinar – Insecurity and Uncertainty: Data security and compliance for SMEs in a remote working environment

As the pandemic continues, organisations have learnt to deal with the uncertain environment – however the feeling of insecurity is only growing stronger.

Data security and compliance issues are proving to be a huge challenge for organisations and their management teams. There is little oversight of how securely employees are acting, and so policing cybersecurity and data compliance on legacy and new systems is an ongoing battle. Large scale remote working has placed security and compliance teams under increased pressure; just how well are they managing their threat landscape?

In this interactive round-table discussion at 2-3pm on 16 March, we will discuss the key data security and compliance challenges currently facing SMEs, and provide practical, objective guidance on how best to nullify, or at least mitigate, these risks.

Speakers:

Simon Rycroft, Co-Founder & Director at Cyber Risk Management Group (CRMG)

Patrick Wheeler, Partner – Head of Intellectual Property and Data Protection at Collyer Bristow
 Location: ZoomDate: 16 MarchTime: 2-3pm
Register here


This webinar is being hosted by CRMG so, if you register for this event, CRMG will process data in accordance with their privacy policy.

BDB PITMANS

BREXIT, COVID AND INTERNATIONALLY MOBILE WORKERS
BDB Pitmans and PEM Accountants invite you to a webinar in which they will explore how Brexit and COVID have affected how and where companies employ staff and provide services.The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement signed in December finally provides some sort of framework for those wishing to send UK nationals to Europe to deliver services to overseas clients and vice versa.The end of the Brexit transition period and the obligation for UK companies now to sponsor new EU national workers not entitled to status under the EU Settlement Scheme also means that companies are rethinking where they employ staff and how they can navigate the UK immigration system.Meanwhile, COVID has upended the traditional approach to workplace location, enabling or forcing many employees, both UK and foreign nationals, to work from the UK and overseas during the pandemic when they are usually based elsewhere.

Kate Millard, Director of Employment Taxes at PEM, and Tim Hayes, Legal Director at BDB Pitmans will talk through the tax, employment and immigration issues relating to international workers in this particular set of circumstances.

Areas they will discuss will include:
– What are the tax and payroll implications in the UK and overseas if a worker works outside of the UK?
– What tax and payroll obligations do I have in respect of employees coming to work in the UK from overseas on a short or longer term basis?
– What employment laws will apply to employees located overseas?
– Can I bring mobile workers back into the UK office once the pandemic is over?
– Can my UK staff travel to the EU on business now?
– Can business visitors come to the UK from the EU on a short-term basis?
– How easy is it to sponsor foreign workers into the UK under the new points-based immigration system?
– Do I need to undertake checks on EU national employees to ensure they have the right to work in the UK post-Brexit?
If you would like to attend, please RSVP by clicking here 
The session will be held using Zoom, a link will be sent to you in your registration confirmation email and will be resent on the morning of the webinar. We hope you can join us
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