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1 The monthly members magazine for the legal profession in in Merseyside and and the the North West West Countdown Liverpool Solicitor the International wins Legal Festival Personality for Business Award2014 page Elkan 21 Abrahamson takes top award for Hillsborough Justice Campaign page 5 December November 2013 page 6 page 7 page 21 page 14 page 14 page 18 Obituary- Samuel Howard Jackson by Andrew Holroyd Liverpool Legal Walk 2013 Lawyer Raising funds in Lights for NWLST This month we feature Mark Hunter of Mackrell & Thomas Solicitors Lawyer in Lights Annual Dinner 2013 This month we feature Martin McQueen of DWF Nina Ferris reports on one of the highlights in the Liverpool Law Society Social Calendar Judges Question Time and Opening of the New Legal Year


3 Editorial Welcome to the last edition of A Few Words from the Editor We have a great edition for you this month with lots of newsworthy articles. On our Charity and CSR Page we have lots of pictures about what all the firms have been up to and the JLD have been busy as usual and of course there are some pictures from the latest AWS Event. This month s bulletin focuses on Knowsley and we delighted to feature Mark Hunter of Mackrell & Thomas Solicitors. I am not sure healthy living will be top of your list at this time of the year but please give Paula Mansfield s article some consideration! This is my last edition as Editor. My 12 months is up and no doubt, you will be glad to see the back of me and my awful photograph! I would like to thank the Liverpool Law Society Editorial Committee for their continued support and I would also like to thank my firm, James Murray Solicitors for supporting me during my year as Editor and not getting too annoyed with me with the amount of traffic I have created. I would also like to thank all the readers and everybody who has sent articles into me. Please keep sending your articles into the Editor s address as it is your articles and pictures that make the bulletin such a good read. Lots of love Rachel Lloyd Editor Consultant Solicitor James Murray Solicitors or GET PUBLISHED IN LIVERPOOL LAW Liverpool Law Society s monthly magazine Do you have something to share with other Liverpool Law Society members? Has your firm participated in an interesting or unusual case? Do you feature on the Movers & Shakers page? Have you participated in a CSR event? Share your news with the legal community. All members contributions to Liverpool Law warmly welcomed. Please send your article (and photos with captions where appropriate) to the Editor Rachel Lloyd at Photographs should be provided in the highest resolution possible to ensure good reproduction Dates for your Diary 12/12/ pm COLP Forum Liverpool Law Society 17/01/ pm HR Forum Liverpool Law Society 29/01/ pm for 6.00pm Newly qualified solicitor & pupil barrister Reception Liverpool Law Society 06/02/ pm for 6.30pm Wine Tasting Event Hatfields Jaguar, Riverside Drive, Liverpool 07/02/ pm COFA Forum Liverpool Law Society 06/03/ pm IT Forum Liverpool Law Society 2014 Deadlines for Liverpool Law 20TH JAN 17TH FEB 17TH MARCH 14TH APRIL 19TH MAY 16TH JUNE 21st JULY 18TH AUG 15TH SEP 20TH OCT 17TH NOV Published by Baskerville Publications Ltd 25 Southworth Way Thornton Cleveleys Lancashire FY5 2WW Tel: Front cover photograph courtesy of Mills Media Each month the front cover will feature a photograph of one of Liverpool Law Society s boroughs... January - Liverpool February - Sefton March - Liverpool April - Neston May - Liverpool June - Wirral July - Liverpool August - Widnes (in Halton) September - Liverpool October - St Helens November - Liverpool December - Knowsley This month s photograph is of Knowsley Hall Need an expert in medical or dental negligence? Refer to us. City : Allerton : Garston Liverpool Law 3

4 Local News News from the President... This is my last contribution to Liverpool Law as President of the Liverpool Law Society and I am amazed how quickly my year of office has passed. It seems only a few months ago that I was posing for my presidential photograph, providing the Editor with my autobiography and preparing my first newsletter setting out my three themes of: connecting excellence; connecting professionals; and connecting youngsters And before I go any further I do want to thank everyone who has supported me throughout my year of office and, in particular, Glenys, Caroline, Alison and Cathy as my fellow officers and Sarah and the staff at the Cotton Exchange. I have had a brilliant team around me and everything we have achieved has been a team effort. We have, as I am sure you know, had a very exciting month with four major highlights for me. First there was the Real Ale Tasting on the 17th October. This was, once again, a sell out with lawyers, accountants and insurers gathering together at Liverpool ONE Bridewell for good company, food and ale! It s great to meet with other professionals and, in addition to Adrian s article about the Real Ale Tasting, you will also find an article by Paul Cochrane who is the current President of the Liverpool Accountants later in this edition about our shared heritage. The second highlight was the Judges Service on 20th October which included an address by Alexander McLean who heads up the African Prisons Project. He spoke with passion about the way in which his organisation is attempting to improve physical conditions and access to justice in African prisons, particularly for those facing capital punishment. It certainly put our own challenges relating to legal aid in perspective! The third highlight was the presentation by Christina Blacklaws on 24th October which Anne Heseltine comments on later in this edition. As you will know, Karl Chapman spoke about Riverview Law at our Legal Roadshow in June and, following this, I was very keen to provide members with an opportunity to hear Christina Blacklaws so that we could learn more about the way in which The Co-operative Legal Services operate and how this is affecting, and will affect, us. As you will see from Anne s article they are a big player who are, in my view, here to stay notwithstanding some recent difficulties. They also have a very distinct ethos and approach which we need to understand and may, in part, want to emulate if we are going to compete effectively. The final highlight was, of course, the Annual Dinner on 13th November and I am very grateful to Lord and Lady Heseltine and also Andy Bounds for speaking and to the many members and their guests who supported this event. Lord Heseltine has been, and continues to be, a great advocate for our City region and his message was a great encouragement to all of us. As I mentioned in my response to Lord Heseltine s address, these are, however, challenging times for our legal community and in particular criminal law practitioners. All of you will now be aware that James Parry has requisitioned a Special General Meeting of the National Law Society to consider a resolution of no confidence in the National President and Chief Executive based on the way in which they have handled the negotiations with the Lord Chancellor on the future of criminal legal aid. Liverpool Law Society Christmas Closing The Society s offices will be closed from 5.00pm on Friday 20th December 2013 until 9.00am on Thursday, 2nd January The President, Committee members and staff of Liverpool Law Society wish you a happy, festive holiday and a prosperous James Parry has legitimately exercised his right to call for this Special General Meeting and we now await the outcome on the 17th December. As a local Law Society we continue to do all that we can to represent our criminal law practitioners and support them in whatever way we can. I am extremely grateful to John Ballam, Zoe Gascoyne and the other members of our criminal law sub-committee for the immense amount of time and energy that they are committing to representing their fellow practitioners. As some of you may know, John missed the Annual Dinner because he was meeting with the Lord Chancellor to discuss criminal legal aid that afternoon. Speaking personally, I believe that, whilst the National Law Society has not communicated what it has been doing as effectively as possible and, with hindsight, could have done some things better, an ongoing dialogue with the Secretary of State for Justice was, and is, the most effective way forward. However, each of you must form your own view. I am writing this article approximately three weeks before my year of office comes to an end and I am certainly having a very busy and exciting conclusion! On the 26th November we have our Annual General Meeting when there will be a contested election. I am delighted that so many members wish to stand for General Committee. I am sure that one of our greatest strengths as a Society is the breadth and depth of the commitment shown by all of our member firms whatever their size and discipline. On the 27th November I am, with Glenys, meeting Nick Fluck as our National President with the Presidents and Vice Presidents of the Birmingham, Bristol and Manchester Law Societies. This has become an annual event and is an opportunity for us to express our views about the National Law Society, and the issues that all of us are dealing with, in confidence and at the highest level. On Friday 29th November we have our regular meeting with our local MPs and have a packed agenda which covers everything from the increasing impact of the reductions in legal aid to the opportunities presented by International Festival for Business. This is followed by a meeting with Mike Haley who is the Director of Supervision at the SRA and will be addressing the crucial issue of financial stability. I am very grateful to Steve and the regulatory committee for organising this open meeting which will hopefully assist all of us in formulating the business plans for our firms. Finally, on 2nd December, we have our next Sector meeting for the International Festival for Business. This event is now gathering considerable momentum and I strongly believe that it is a great opportunity for our member firms to develop their businesses as well as promoting the region. Further details of the plans for the Festival are set out later in this edition. The Lawyers Sub Group which we host at the Society s offices is meeting on Tuesday 17 December and I would be grateful if you could send me, via Sarah details of any events that your firm is planning during the six week festival so that I can co-ordinate with Liverpool Vision and hopefully ensure that the local legal community derives as much benefit as possible from this event. I am conscious that I have probably used all of my allotted space and therefore should bring this final article to an end. I thank all General Committee members who are retiring for their contribution to the Society and, in particular, Rachel Lloyd who has been Chair of the Editorial Committee and implemented some very positive changes to Liverpool Law and Past President Donal Bannon who has been Chair of our Training Committee and been instrumental in the introduction of our new, and very successful, fixed price CPD package. I also thank Cathy Fielding who has served with distinction as one of our Honorary Secretaries. I wish Glenys and the officers of the General Committee every success in the year ahead. I am sure they will do a brilliant job. Thank you, once again, for the fabulous support that you as members of our Society have given to me. As I said at the Annual Dinner, I am immensely proud to be a citizen of this great city called Liverpool and immensely proud to be a member of this great organisation called the Liverpool Law Society. Alistair Fletcher President, Liverpool Law Society Sponsored by 4 Liverpool Law

5 Local News Broudie Jackson Canter Partner wins at Law Society Excellence Awards 2013 Broudie Jackson Canter Partner, Elkan Abrahamson, has been awarded Legal Personality of the Year at the Law Society Excellence Awards He was also highly commended for Solicitor of the Year (Private Practice) at the prestigious awards ceremony. This award and recognition is in relation to Elkan's work with the Hillsborough Justice Campaign. He is currently involved full time with the Hillsborough Inquests, heading a team preparing for the hearing and its aftermath. Broudie Jackson Canter act for 19 of the Hillsborough families and Elkan has worked closely with campaigners for nearly two decades to shed light on the truth about the disaster. In his acceptance speech Elkan dedicated the award to his clients, those Hillsborough families who had never given up the fight for justice for their loved ones. Managing Partner and former Law Society President Andrew Holroyd said "this award is richly deserved by a great lawyer who cares about his clients and continues to use his skill to ensure that accountability for these tragic events is finally made clear". LLM Careers and Networking Event Tuesday 22nd October 2013 Co-organised by the School of Law and Social Justice, The University of Liverpool, and Liverpool Law Society By Amber Dar and Stephanie Reynolds On Tuesday 22nd October 2013, LLM students at the School of Law and Social Justice, The University of Liverpool, attended the School s LLM Careers and Networking Event. Co-organised by the School and Liverpool Law Society, the event was an excellent opportunity for LLM students to learn more about career pathways in law. The School was delighted that panel presentations, chaired by Amber Dar, a Lecturer at the School of Law and Social Justice, were diverse, engaging and extremely informative. The School is grateful to Alistair Fletcher, President of Liverpool Law Society and Partner at Brabners, who presented on the Liverpool Law Society and his work as a housing and regeneration lawyer; Sarah Poblete, CEO of Liverpool Law Society, who provided key information about student membership of Liverpool Law Society; Glenys Hunt, Vice President of Liverpool Law Society and a solicitor at Carpenters, who discussed civil litigation; Paul Shutler, Senior Associate at DLA Piper (Liverpool Office) who spoke about international law in practice; and finally Gill Lloyd, a solicitor in the NHS Litigation Authority team at Hill Dickinson, who talked about her role in that team and the practical aspects of medical law. The School also appreciated the valuable contributions of Dinara Ibragimova, a Hodgson LLM Scholar at the School, who shared her experiences of the Hodgson Scholarship; and Laura Dawson, a Ph.D. student at the School, who provided useful insights into postgraduate research and academic teaching. The School looks forward to working closely with Liverpool Law Society in the future to organise more events that are invaluable to the professional and personal development of its students. Andrew Holroyd with Elkan Abrahamson DLA Piper Liverpool helps remove barriers to employment within the legal profession As part of DLA Piper's global Break into Law initiative, aimed at improving equality, diversity and inclusion in the legal industry, it's Liverpool office recently invited 10 children from local schools (Childwall Sports and Science Academy and Broadgreen International) into the office for a two day programme run by both legal and support staff. The initiative was run with assistance from Liverpool Compact, Liverpool's leading education business partnership. The objective of the scheme was to not only show the year olds how a law firm operates and provide an insight into the type of legal and non-legal work undertaken, but also develop skills that will be valuable to the students when pursuing future employment. During their visit the students attended workshops on CV writing, presentation skills and interview techniques, as well as interactive sessions aimed at increasing their understanding of the legal sector and the importance of law. All of the participating students reported the experience had helped them to develop their skills and improve their understanding of the careers available to them in the legal profession, with 89% saying they had been encouraged to pursue a role within the legal sector. Liverpool office's Corporate Responsibility partner Jeff Vernon stated: "Staff from all levels took part in this initiative ensuring the students took the most away from their time at the firm. This is an example of how DLA Piper is committed to supporting its local communities." Janet Legrand, Senior Elected Board Member at the firm commenting that: "Lack of diversity in the legal profession is a worldwide issue. As a leading global law firm, we believe that we can use our unique ability to apply our resources and the skills of our people to ensure talented young people have the opportunity to succeed within our profession, irrespective of their background." To find out more about Break into Law visit Liverpool Law 5

6 Local News Samuel Howard Jackson In 1961 Howard joined with Philip Canter to set up Jackson & Canter Solicitors practising at Imperial Chambers at 62 Dale St Liverpool 2. They had a successful and busy practice undertaking a wide variety of legal work concentrating on that section of Liverpool Society who had been largely bypassed by the conventional legal community. They were the first legal practitioners to leave the safety of the City Centre and set up offices near to where disadvantaged people lived, first in Kirkby and then in Liverpool 8 and later in Belle Vale. This was an example later followed by many imitators but they were the first and others followed to bring legal services out to the community. Howard was a lovely human being. He was always down to earth, warm, hospitable and friendly. It was this informal style that worked with clients. He never put himself on a pedestal but was you felt he really was on your side working with you. He built up a cadre of loyal clients who always wanted to see the boss and Howard was generous in making himself available. When I joined in 1975 to work in the Toxteth office, I took to Howard straight away. Could it have been the supposed interview over a tot of Jameson s when the affairs of the world in general were discussed and mulled over? Or was it that I recognised that commitment to legal practice that was there to redress some of the inequalities in Society? I suspect both. Howard was an eccentric in his personal behaviour being exceptionally scruffy and untidy. At his funeral his daughter Rachel recounted how he was positively proud to have been refused entry to a pub in Blackpool who perceived Howard by his appearance to be a tramp. He was certainly not the tidiest of people and his desk was something to behold. Joe Woolwich recounted to me how Howard had acted for him on a house purchase. Following completion the new house deeds could not be found. They did eventually turn up on Howard s desk some 6 months later. Whether this story was true or not, it was definitely believable. Philip Canter also recalls how a time and motion expert visited Howard and asked him about his system of working. Well said Howard, the urgent files are up there on that shelf and the very urgent files are down there by the filing cabinet. The expert soon left the office and was never heard of again. With Howard and Philip, legal practice was never dull. Whether it was barring the doors to the police in hot pursuit of clients who burst into our rooms in the Rialto in Toxteth or life after the Riots, coming to work was always an enjoyable experience but not without its challenges. Howard s innate legal wisdom was unfailing in its ingenuity and common sense. His lightly worn but substantial intellect always came to the fore making one understand how it was that he had become a formidable National Bridge player. Above all the commitment to clients and improving their lot was never in doubt All those who knew him at Jackson & Canter will remember him with great fondness. We all know that it was Howard and Philip Canter who set the ethos and philosophy of the firm which we are proud to carry on. We are grateful for the help Howard gave us in the formation of our legal careers and many many clients in Liverpool are surely grateful for his pioneering legal work for them as individuals and for the people of Liverpool in general. Our thoughts are with Clarice, Rachel, Catherine and Vicki at this difficult time and also his sister Dorothea. Andrew Holroyd Machine Gun Preacher Employment Law Conference 2013 With a line up of top drawer speakers, we always knew that this year s Employment Law Conference (which took place at the Society on Wednesday 30 October) would be an entertaining day. What we had not reckoned on was the explosive nature of some of our presentations, and the intervention of our very own local hero! Located in Liverpool & Preston, Oriel Chambers is a dynamic and progressive set, housing some of the most renowned and experienced practitioners on the Northern Circuit. 6 Liverpool Law Specialist practice areas include: Personal Injury Road Traffic Accidents Employers Liability Public Liability Industrial Disease Clinical Negligence Employment Commercial & Chancery Family & Ancillary Relief Regulatory Crime Mediation Oriel Liverpool Oriel Preston Annette Gumbs from St John s Buildings Chambers kicked matters off with an analysis of the latest cases on establishing disability, but it was the presentation of our second speaker, Amanda Daniels of Koogar (a digital marketing company specialising in website design) which led to our heroic intervention. Amanda s presentation fell foul of the IT system and needed to be re-booted. Step forward Simon Gorton QC who kindly agreed to step into the breach and present his TUPE update in an earlier than advertised time slot. After Simon had concluded his Man from Milk Tray act and up to the minute TUPE session, Amanda s multi-media extravaganza could continue, including the trailer from the aforementioned Machine Gun Preacher and an analysis of the mind boggling number of social media sites that most of us in the room were not (it would seem) using to our best advantage. Rounding off the morning session was Tom Linden QC who gave us a scintillating summary of the latest cases on identifying the terms of contracts of employment (without focusing on the banker s bonuses cases, for which most of us were thankful!). After lunch, Andrew Edge of 11 KBW ran us through some of the key cases in 2013 and in particular gave an illuminating insight into the latest developments in surrogacy/maternity rights cases. My personal highlight of the day was Sean Jones QC s 7 deadly sins of witness statements. Sean combined precision and insight with brilliant anecdotes, particularly of the one about how Judge s decide who should win (or lose) tricky cases.. This led seamlessly into our final session of the day a forthright and entertaining exposition of the Tribunal s perspective on the latest changes in the rules of Tribunal procedure and, in particular, the introduction of Tribunal fees from Jonathan Whittaker. All in all then, another successful Employment Law Conference this year. Thanks go, as usual, to Jo Downey and the team at the Society for making everything happen on the day. We look forward to seeing you at next year s Conference, now, where is that machine gun?? Emlyn Williams Chair of Employment Law Sub Committee The thanks of the Society go to Wesleyan for Lawyers

7 Local News Beer and Bankruptcy I am delighted to say that, since being elected President of the Liverpool Society of Chartered Accounts ( LSCA ) I have attended and enjoyed a number of joint events held with the Liverpool Law Society. Each has added to my education. Although, I must confess they were social events and the lure was my desire to learn about the production of beer and wine rather than the need for CPD. The LSCA and the Liverpool Law Society have very strong links which, certainly the current office holders, are keen to maintain and strengthen. However, I recently came across a research document prepared by Stephen Walker of Cardiff University which highlighted how far back our relationship extends. The LSCA was formed in 1870 and famously was the first Society of Chartered Accountants in the country, a fact that all Presidents of the LSCA must mention at every possible opportunity. I was aware that the Liverpool Law Society predate this. I was not aware that they were actually instrumental in the formation of the LSCA. This happened as a result of the forward looking approach taken by the Liverpool Law Society in response to the Bankruptcy Act For the first time this Act allowed accountants to be appointed as a trustee in bankruptcy, an area previously a preserve of lawyers. At the time, the prevalent view amongst lawyers was the measure would considerably diminish the business Private Child Law Conference 2013 On 16 October 2013, the Liverpool Law Society held its first half day, autumn, private child law conference; His Honour Judge Dodds (sole tenant of Courtroom 19 Liverpool Civil and Family Courts) chaired. The first speaker was Samantha Hillas of Atlantic Chambers who discussed the Children and Families Bill (currently at committee stage in the House of Lords). The Bill, when it is passed (and it most certainly is going to be passed either in its current form or very similar) is going to affect all family law practitioners. Samantha was refreshingly candid when setting out her thoughts and reservations on some aspects of the Bill (the abolition of residence and contact orders and the presumption of shared parenting) and how this is going to work in practice. Our next speaker was Carole Brennan, Partner and head of Liverpool Divorce and Financial team at Morecrofts Solicitors. Carole discussed her role as a Resolution accredited mediator at Morecrofts and made attempts (successfully, I would say) to dispel some of the myths that surround mediation; Carole sought to persuade delegates that mediation can work but accepted that it requires the parties to be willing to consider the same. Carole discussed in some detail the opportunity for children of the parties to attend mediation, which, I have to say, I was unaware of. After a short coffee break, the next speaker, District Judge Heyworth, discussed in detail the problems that the Court has faced with the increasingly everpresent litigants in person. Since the removal of the availability of legal aid in most private child law matters in April 2013, many more people attend at Court unrepresented, which causes numerous difficulties for the Court, e.g. the lodging of the court bundle, the drafting of the order, the filing and serving of statements, relevant to the case itself and the parties not presenting as child focused. District Judge Heyworth gave a brief history in time on how society has changed since the time he began to practice law and how this directly impacts upon the families he has before him in Court (the increase in recreational drug use, the increase and use of hardcore pornography, the invention of Facebook, Twitter and the like, which now seemingly crop up in most family law cases). District Judge Heyworth provided guidance to the delegates on how we can assist the litigants in person with the ultimate aim of assisting the Court in determining the case as quickly and as fairly as possible. The final speaker was Clive Baker of 7 Harrington Street Chambers, a firm fixture at these conferences. Clive provided, in his usual comedic and thought provoking manner, an update on the recent case law. Thanks go to sponsors AlphaBiolabs. Joseph Bromley The Berkson Globe Partnership Solicitors. of attorneys and solicitors who practice in bankruptcy and in common law ( Law Time 20th March 1869 ).Not surprisingly the new rules met with more than a little resistance from lawyers The first city in which accountants and lawyers addressed these issues was Liverpool. The Liverpool Law Society took a pragmatic view and suggested to Liverpool s leading accountants that, if the two disciplines were to work together, the lawyers would rather work with reputable accountants and suggested the leading firms form a professional organisation for accountants. The rest is history. Paul Cochrane is President of the Liverpool Society of Chartered Accountants and a Partner in McEwan Wallace, Chartered Accountants. Paul Cochrane and Alistair Fletcher Liverpool Law 7

8 Malthouse & Company Chartered Accountants & Business Advisers Specialising in the law. We advise: Solicitors Barristers Chambers On finance, on tax and on business and we also provide Expert Witness Services in cases including Personal Injury Claims Fatal Accident Divorce Business Valuations Partnership disputes and Fraud Please contact us to find out how we can help Mark Herbert, F.C.A America House, Rumford Court Liverpool L3 9DD Tel: Fax: Liverpool Law

9 Council Report Council Member s Report I have been to council meeting, and I have been trying to support criminal lawyer colleagues who of course have massive and justifiable concerns in respect of the Government s attack on their livelihood, way of life, and future. I have not had the time to puts thoughts into a complete article. I apologise for this. I will do this for the next issue, but in the meantime I attach two reports from Law Society Council meeting on 16 October. As ever, if you have any concerns, please contact me : Law Society Council meeting summary: 16 October 2013 At this first Council meeting of the legal year , we welcomed the 19 new members of Council who had been elected or nominated to Council seats earlier in the year, the great majority of whom were able to attend their first Council meeting in person. There were a number of important matters on the Council agenda which this document attempts to summarise for wider circulation. regulator Reduce the size and scope of the oversight regulator, which would be chaired by a judge. Council discussed these proposals and the strands of work that would be required for implementation if they were adopted by the Ministry of Justice. These include defining which functions would transfer, how the rules would need to be amended, and how to address practical issues including organisation design. The future of regulation We submitted a response, adopted by the Society s Regulatory Affairs Board, to the Lord Chancellor's call for evidence on regulating the profession. The key elements of our preferred way forward are: Return responsibility for standard setting and education to the professional bodies Revise the Internal Governance Rules to clarify responsibilities, giving the professional bodies clearer accountability for their arm's-length Criminal Legal Aid In a wide-ranging debate, Council considered the Society's position, and what the next steps should be. The Law Society opposed the model for the procurement of legal aid originally proposed in the Transforming Legal Aid consultation paper. In particular: We opposed the removal of client choice. We opposed the introduction of Price-Competitive Tendering (PCT). We sought to ensure that that Engaging and shaping our environment The CEO, accompanied by the relevant regional manager, made visits to firms in Suffolk, South Hampshire, Hertfordshire, and Greater London. The Law Society maintained its customary presence at the American Bar Association annual conference, hosting a seminar for international bar leaders on regulation of the legal profession. Update on Criminal Legal Aid On 16 October, the Law Society Council resolved to: 1. Note and support the concessions and amendments to the Government s initial proposals that have been achieved via the Society s engagement with the MoJ. 2. Note that the Society opposes uneconomic or inappropriate fee structures. 2.This short paper summarises the presentation given to Council. It sets out what has changed between the April and September consultations as a result of the Society s engagement, the detail of the new proposals and the Society s position going forward. The MoJ s original proposals 3.On 9 April, the MoJ presented a consultation document proposing a radical restructuring of criminal legal aid procurement. That document proposed: 3.1. Complete removal of client choice clients allocated to a duty solicitor and expected to remain with that solicitor for the duration of their case Just 400 contracts covering 42 procurement areas a small number of contracts covering geographically large Criminal Justice System Areas Contracts awarded on the basis of a price competition, capped at 17.5% below present rates firms forced into a high risk reverse auction for contracts, with the risk of a race to the bottom to secure a contract A very short timeframe with contracts set to begin in September 2014 Just three months planned between contract award and contract start. April September: Law Society engagement and the MoJ s revised proposals 4. Prior to the consultation launch the Lord Chancellor made his preference plain: We must consider how to achieve best value for money in the way we procure legal aid. We have already made clear our intention to introduce price competition in the criminal legal aid market. 5. Announcing the second consultation in September, he said: We have been involved in detailed negotiations with the Law Society. As a consequence of these discussions we have designed a model that does not include the evaluation of tenders on price. 6. The Lord Chancellor s movement was the result of intensive and constructive engagement between the Society and the MoJ. Acknowledging though not accepting that there is at present no consensus in any political party to ringfence legal aid spending the Society sought the best achievable alternative in the circumstances. 7. The Society presented an alternatives document and subsequently held discussions with the MoJ. The September consultation is the outcome of those discussions. It means: 7.1. Client choice retained Clients free to choose their legal representative. All firms who meet a basic quality threshold able to undertake unlimited own client greatest possible number of firms could sustainably deliver criminal legal aid in the medium term. Updates on other issues Some of the discussions in Council related to how it oversees the Society's activities and operations, for example continuing updates on measures to improve the internal control regime, and a business case to support moving to a much more 'joined up' and effective suite of IT systems. On civil litigation issues, the Chief Executive appeared before the Transport Select Committee, and the President met with the relevant MoJ minister to express our views. On equality and diversity, we have worked with Riliance to develop a free online tool to enable firms to collect, report and publish data on the diversity of their workforce as required by the SRA. As at the end of August, nearly 900 firms had registered for this. Commercial affairs We have conducted research with 275 small and medium practices to understand the importance of various support functions and business services provided to them. This will inform plans for the delivery of consultancy and other services for Activity has continued to deliver high quality services to section members, to improve the offering to Law Society divisions, to build the marketing and communications strategy to support the launch of the Wills Inheritance Quality Scheme, and to support the launch of Chancery Pii. The Practice Advice Service has received over 7,500 calls over the last three months and has been important in supporting firms with advice on Professional Indemnity Insurance. The new Gazette website has been well received by users. work in England and Wales Duty contracts tendered on capacity and capability, not price Duty solicitor contracts will be awarded on the basis of an assessment of a firm s capability and capacity to deliver Contracts across 62, rather than 42, procurement areas with the final number of contracts to be decided on the best available evidence the maximum possible number of contracts compatible with financial viability will be awarded subject to independent empirical research. 7.4.Timeframe extended to summer Implementation rescheduled to aid transition. The Society s action going forward 8.As emphasised by the Chief Executive, the Society s concern is to ensure that as many criminal solicitors as possible are able to continue practising criminal law. 9.The Society will therefore seek further modifications to the consultation proposals to ensure that, as far as is possible, they are viable for criminal providers In particular, the Society will seek further modifications to the proposals to ensure that: 9.1.Decisions about contract size are made subject to the best available evidence In order to ensure that the maximum number of contracts compatible with financial viability are awarded, the Society and MoJ have jointly commissioned Otterburn Consulting to research firm finances. 9.2.There is maximum flexibility with regard to structure of those submitting a bid The Society will be ensuring that consortia arrangements are permitted. 9.3.The single national police station fee is varied to reflect local conditions, particularly in London and the South East A rapid move to a single national fee could mean a reduction of over 30% in London and the South East An escape fee is included for the most serious police station cases While generally a swings and roundabouts principle applies to police station attendances, some cases are so complex and lengthy that they impose disproportionate costs Plans to pay flat fees in the magistrates and Crown Courts, no matter what the case outcome, are reconsidered Fees should be revised to remove any perception of a financial incentive to encourage a particular plea. 10. Provide practical advice and support for firms to adapt their businesses and, where appropriate, merge or form consortia The Society s overriding objective is to create the conditions under which there are maximum possible opportunities for solicitors who wish to undertake criminal legal aid. The Society is therefore preparing a programme of work aimed at providing the practical support, advice and template documentation necessary to help firms through future challenges. Liverpool Law 9

10 Movers & Shakers From Paralegal to Director - law firm promotes rising star Hampson Hughes Solicitors, specialists in no win no fee personal injury compensation, has promoted one of its former paralegals to a director within the business. Claudia Sofia Curcillo who is 28 and from Southport has been promoted after demonstrating continued commitment and dedication to the firm. Claudia rose quickly through the ranks after joining the company as a paralegal in March She was later awarded Hampson Hughes Solicitor s first training contract in October 2011 and qualified as a solicitor in April Claudia Sofia Curcillo Rowlinsons win Law Society Excellence Award Rowlinsons outstanding achievements were celebrated at the Law Society Excellence Awards recently when over 600 lawyers and their guests joined the President of the Law Society, Nicholas Fluck, and BBC Today Programme host Mishal Husain at the black tie dinner and presentation ceremony at the Park Plaza Hotel in London. The firm won the Lexcel Award for Excellence in Practice Management, the judges remarking that the firm had used Lexcel to further their strong commitment to client care focusing on providing services that are relevant to the local community. Denis Stevenson, our Senior Director commented on the achievement: "To be recognised by the Law Society by winning an Excellence Award is a badge of honour for us here at Rowlinsons and one we will wear with pride. We have always put our clients at the heart of everything we do and are always looking to innovate and make what Rowlinsons has to offer better and better. This award is recognition of that ethos." Whilst completing her training she helped to set up the costs department, which now employs ten people. During this time she forged excellent links with leading Senior & Junior Cost Counsel and prominent cost experts and authorities throughout the country. Commenting on her promotion Claudia said: I never imagined I would be promoted to director so quickly but Hampson Hughes Solicitors is a fast paced and dynamic company that enables its staff to grow with the business. I am delighted to be part of that growth and the firm s on-going success story. Paul Hampson, joint managing director at Hampson Hughes Solicitors, said: Claudia has excelled in her role showing absolute commitment and dedication to legal excellence. She has risen quickly through the ranks, which is proof that if you are determined and hard working there are no barriers to what you can achieve at Hampson Hughes Solicitors. Professor Dominic Regan of City University, London, who has worked with Claudia in her current role said: Claudi a is a consummate professional who really knows her stuff. She is also a delight to work for and with. A fine combination and I am glad that her talent has rightly been recognised. Claudia studied a law degree at Kingston upon Thames University in Surrey. She then completed her LPC at The College of Law in Chester before joining Hampson Hughes Solicitors. Scott Rees Welcome New Trainee Paralegals Scott Rees and Co also welcomed seven new trainee paralegals as they continue to fight back from the reforms that have made the industry a minefield in terms of expansion. With things elsewhere in the industry looking a little bleak, the offering of seven new training contracts means that Scott Rees and Co continues to be a beacon of light within the personal injury sector. Talking about the latest additions to the Scott Rees and Co team, Managing Partner, Royston Smith said: I would like to welcome our new trainees to the company. We believe that the best way to ensure our standards remain high is to maintain a great training strategy and over time this has worked wonderfully for us and I am sure with the new members of staff joining us over the past week, this tradition will continue. Pictured above from top left are Rebecca Fairhurst, Natasha McLoughlin and Ellie Collins. From bottom left Mantas Makausas, Paul Phillip, Lisa Hailwood and Phillipa Mercer. 10 Liverpool Law

11 Movers & Shakers New Law Firm launches in Liverpool Cassell Moore, which provides first-rate legal and strategic support to businesses and individuals, has launched in Liverpool. The new firm is headquartered in the iconic Grade I listed Edward Pavilion located at the historic Albert Dock. It also benefits from maintained office space in the leading financial centres of London and Madrid. Key practice areas include: Corporate Law; Debt Litigation; Employment Law; Family Law; Real Estate and Sports Law. With 22 staff its professional and experienced team has already secured a strong portfolio of clients from across the UK and the firm plans to make further senior appointments over the coming months. Commenting on the establishment of the company, Stephen Morris, Cassell Moore managing partner, said: Cassell Moore is a forward thinking business that is staffed by incredibly talented lawyers. Despite being a new entrant to the market we have already secured valuable clients on the strength of our people and we will continue to recruit the very best talent from across the legal community. Stephen Morris, Managing Partner Jackson & Canter announces new Head of Private Immigration Liverpool law firm Jackson & Canter has appointed Gordon Irving as its new Head of Private Immigration. Gordon provides clients with specialist advice and guidance on a broad range of immigration matters, such as applications under the points based system for investors and entrepreneurs, skilled workers and students, applications for European nationals and Citizenship and nationality applications. He can also appeal and litigate unlawful decisions in respect of these applications. Gordon qualified as a solicitor in 2005 and worked in a firm of immigration solicitors in London before relocating to Liverpool in 2009, when he joined Jackson & Canter. The nature of this work means that Gordon Irving Jackson & Canter represent a wide range of clients, from internationally renowned artists to coffee shop 'baristas'. Gordon is part of the firm's immigration department who are one of the largest teams of immigration specialists in the Northwest. Top accolade for Sean Sexton "MSBs Sean Sexton has been recognised by the Irish daily post as one of the top 50 lawyers practicing in England.The achievement was marked by a dinner at the Dorchester hotel on the 30th October at which Sean attended with partners and guests. Sean has also this month passed his examinations to become a Criminal Higher Rights advocate. Brabners wins Legal Team of the Year award Leading North West law firm Brabners is celebrating after being named Legal Team of the Year at the Insider North West Dealmakers Awards Brabners saw off competition from seven other law firms to win the prestigious title. The award was presented to the firm last night at a ceremony in Manchester attended by more than 900 of the region s most prominent dealmakers and businesspeople. Recent deals completed by Brabners include advising the shareholders of Rochdalebased Ambler Technologies Limited on their sale to Swedish buyer Trelleborg, representing Murphy Group on the acquisition of the assets of Land and Marine Project Engineering, a subsidiary of the failed Daniel Contractors group, and advising Bristow Helicopters on its sale of 50% of FB Heliservices to Cobham for 74 million. Mark Brandwood, Managing Partner at Brabners said: We are delighted to be recognised by the Insider North West Dealmakers Awards for both our achievements and the high standard of service that we provide. This award acknowledges the expertise and professionalism of the team who work very hard to deliver excellent standards in the quality of work we do for our clients. In addition, Brabners advised Restore on its acquisition of Archive Solution for 3.35m, a deal which scooped the title Deal of the Year (sub 5m) at the ceremony. Merchants Funding Ltd We know the problems. We have the answers. We provide a sensitive, speedy, discreet service providing short term secured funding to Lawyers to assist with payment, for example of VAT, Tax and your Professional Indemnity Insurance Premium. Contact Paul Coyne LLB in complete confidence on (Company No: ) Mark Brandwood

12 Local News Judges Question Time This month we include the questions and responses to the Dispute Resolution topics 1. Under the amended terms of Rule 3.9 is it correct that all parties should assume that every Order of the Court is a pre-emptory order such that if it is anticipated that there will be a breach of a term permission will be required but may not necessarily be granted to obtain relief? In this regard does the recent decision of Mr Justice Andrew Smith in Rayyan Al Iraq C Ltd v- Victory Marine Inc indicate that the Courts in their consideration of all the circumstances of the case are prepared to temper the tough approach that has otherwise been applied since 1st April 2013? 1. The new and old CPR Part 3.9 both required the court to consider all of the circumstances. It is the extended overriding objective at CPR Part 1.2(f) coupled Part 3.9(1)(b) both of which draw attention to the need to enforce compliance with rules, practice directions and court orders that sets the tone. Moreover, the CPR Part 1.1 requirement to deal with cases justly and at proportionate cost will apply. It is likely to be very difficult to appeal against an individual exercise of discretion, but the Court of Appeal has already signalled that the courts will be required to be less tolerant of breach than used to be the case (see Fred Perry v Brands Plaza [2012] EWCA Civ 224). I submit that the only safe and correct approach is as follows. * if in breach of a rule practice direction or order, an application must be made to regularise the position * even if the breach did not attract a 'sanction' as such, it still requires the indulgence of the court which requires the court to apply Part 1.2(f) and therefore to enforce compliance and also Part 1.1 costs proportionality * it will be dangerous in the extreme to assume any tempering of the tough approach suggested * where the breach did bring about a sanction such that Part 3.9 is engaged, that will place the guilty party under an additional burden and even less tolerance can be expected. Andrew Smith J at the moment is in a minority of 1 and every single high court or appeal court reported decision is to contrary effect. Absence of prejudice remains relevant but will no longer be determinative and will not necessarily provide a solution especially if the solution offends costs proportionality. 2.The Civil Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2013 SI No. 262 confirm at Section 22 (3) that the extension of the small claims track limit from 5,000 to 10,000 will not apply to allocation of the claim under Part 26 and more particularly under Part 26 8(f) for any claim issued before 1st April Is it therefore correct that some claims which should be subject to this transitional provision are automatically being allocated to the small claims track? Is it also correct that the only way either party may address this point and obtain clarity in respect of costs is within the Directions Questionnaire or by submission of an application to the Court? In such circumstances how likely is it that the claim will be reallocated to the fast track, and will the party making the application have to bear the costs of their opponent? 2. I cannot answer this question at the moment because I believe it arises in an appeal pending in the Liverpool County Court and the answer therefore will have to await the judgment of the appeal judge who hears the case. But as a matter of generality, s/he who is dissatisfied with either notice of proposed allocation or allocation has no alternative but to raise that in the directions questionnaire or/and by way of discrete application. S/he then is subject to the general case management exercise of discretion as to both allocation and as to costs. Not only therefore will outcome probably depend on the judgement of the District Judge bearing in mind all of the factors in CPR Part 26.8 (which is therefore unlikely to be appealable) but not only would the usual order for costs be that they follow the event of the application (CPR part 44.2) but the court could take the view that it is appropriate to depart from that if it forms the view that either the application itself or the costs thereof offend the proportionality requirement of CPR Part 1.1. The message therefore is beware of satellite litigation of these issues. Presumably claimant solicitors in modest value claims will justify the success fee irrecoverable from the defendant in part on the risk of the adverse costs consequences of allocation to the small claims track. 3.The report of the Transport Select Committee has made strong recommendations against the increase of the small claims track limit on the basis that it would have an impact upon accessibility to justice. To what extent is it believed that access to justice would be reduced by a SC increase and do the Court believe that it would result in an increase in Litigants-in- Person? Would this inevitably result in an increase in Court time and cost per case and therefore Court backlogs? 3. Despite the 'condition 2' health warning that we will not deal with questions with a political slant, I will proffer a view on this. Access to justice will only be threatened if the result of an increase in the PI limit for the SCT had the effect that people could not get their cases taken on by professionals. There is no evidence yet that that would happen and indeed the recent private equity funded take over of Winn suggests that there are some who believe that such claims can continue to be handled profitably under alternative business models that the envisage, which has attracted private equity investment into this market. Similarly, we know a local firm has taken on thousands of flight delay claims with the knowledge that they will only ever be allocated to the SCT and they and their clients must be content that that is viable. If however evidence were to show with the benefit of hindsight that victims of low value injuries or losses could not find representation, but victims were nonetheless continuing to pursue their claims, inevitably there would be an impact on time per case and therefore delay. It might however encourage even greater take up than is presently made of the SCT mediation scheme in Liverpool that has an outstanding success rate, and maybe the message is that if your client's case is allocated to the SCT, your immediate response should be to ask for a stay and a reference to SCT mediation. Settlement would minimise the extent of otherwise irrecoverable costs. 4.Part 44 Section II Qualified One Way Costs Shifting and in particular Rule (3) permits the making of a non-party cost order against a person other than the Claimant for whose financial benefit the whole or part of the claim was made. Part 12.2 of the Practice Direction to Rule 44 specifically gives as an example of such financial benefit claims for credit hire. If it is the case that the Claimant who does not issue proceedings to recover the hire would become responsible for the payment of the credit hire themselves is it correct to state that the proceedings were for the benefit of a non party? Is it not the case that the Claimant derived benefit themselves in that the recovery from the Defendant prevents them from being personally responsible for making payment to the credit hire company? Should Rule apply in those cases? 4. Only time and experience will tell whether this is a problem. At the moment it is not perceived or anticipated to be. It is very rare for the only issue in a case to be the credit hire claim. There are usually in our experience claims for personal injury and / or vehicle repair costs also. It is not for us as judges to decide what the rules should be or therefore whether CPR Part has a place but we can and do say that we do not perceive an issue in these cases. 5. Is it anticipated that the vertical and horizontal extension of the portal and implementation of a fixed recoverable costs scheme will result in an increase of litigation on the basis that the issue of proceedings will generate more costs and if so how it is intended to deal with that increase? 5. Our perception is that this problem will only materialise if and to the extent that cases are permitted to escape the Portal, and the predominant reasons for that to happen relate to defendant behaviour that is denial of liability and / or failure to deal with the case within the time scales prescribed by the Protocols that regulate the Portals. Accordingly, the judges are not convinced that there is a problem in the making here. 6.In possession cases are landlords providing the District Judges full particulars about the personal circumstances of tenants? E.g mental health issues, learning disabilities or other disability? Are the District Judges asking for further information if it is not made clear? (There appear to be a number of cases where vulnerable people are being evicted, having not engaged or been able to engage with the landlord. A recent cases involving a man with mental health issues in the Everton area raised the suspicion that the landlord had provided the court with less than adequate information about the tenant s personal circumstances resulting in an order for eviction being made.) 6.This is potentially a problem area. If tenants do not attend court either by themselves or be a representative or a voice, there is no way for the court to know whether or not it has been provided with adequate information in the documentation or from the landlord s representative. District Judges report no perception of a problem and they are impressed with the information provided by social landlords. They also applaud the ability of CABx and similar agencies to provide assistance and facilitate the provision of appropriate information to the courts. In that we, the judges perception is that problem cases are identified and investigated but we are not complacent and we acknowledge that cases can and do slip through the net. 7.Are the District Judges seeing increasing numbers of unrepresented Defendants in debt related cases? 7.District Judges report that this is not a feature in this class of work. That may be a reflection of the fact that legal advice and assistance never was widely available to the impecunious in debt related cases except where their homes were at risk. We do not detect more cases nor more LIPs in them. One factor may be the continued conspicuous success in Merseyside of the small claims mediation service which not only enjoys a high rate of referrals but a continuing high rate of both uptake of its services and of its success in promoting mediated resolutions of civil disputes. The success rate of mediation, where it is taken up, consistently hovers in the vicinity of 70%. Personally I cannot envisage a better advertisement of the merits of mediation over litigation and in my opinion and experience, that is true irrespective of the nature of the dispute or whether the parties are represented, and indeed it may very well be that in represented cases, mediation by a third party arms length mediator as opposed to settlement meetings or negotiations, enables departure from otherwise entrenched positions and therefore facilitates a negotiated outcome. 8. Are the courts, in general, seeing increasing numbers of people referred to the PSU? Is the PSU able to assist all those referred by the courts? 8. District Judges report a mixed picture of a significant increase of family cases referred to the PSU (and therefore something Judge de Haas QC may care to comment upon) but that is less true in relation to civil work before District Judges. My perspective is that there may be greater reference to the PSU in civil cases listed before Circuit Judges but I accept that is a smaller proportion of work. The problem with this tier of help is that the PSU are not qualified or equipped to give legal advice and therefore there is a real limitation on the help that it can provide. It is not a substitute for qualified professional advice and assistance. However, some assistance is better than no assistance at all and therefore their presence and contribution is to be welcomed. 12 Liverpool Law


14 Annual Dinner 186th Liverpool Law Society Annual Dinner The Annual Dinner is a longstanding highlight of the Liverpool Law Society social calendar. Nerves amongst the President and his team at LLS HQ were running slightly higher than usual as there was a new format to the evening to navigate as well as the speeches to deliver and high profile guests to entertain. President Fletcher need not have worried, the 186th Liverpool Law Society Dinner was a glittering affair. Distinguished guests, and dignitaries including The Rt Hon The Lord Michael Heseltine CH, Lady Heseltine, Dame Lorna Muirhead, the High Sheriff, Lord Mayor of Liverpool Gary Millar and members of the judiciary together with sponsors Baker Tilly, DX and Wesleyan for Lawyers gathered in the Crosby room for a predinner reception before making their way down to the grand ballroom. The ballroom was the fullest we have seen it in recent years and the low lighting, candelabras and sumptuous decoration gave proceedings an atmosphere of opulent festivity as members and guests caught up with old friends and new faces before taking their seats for dinner. After a welcome from the President, Lord Heseltine took to the stage to propose the toast to the Society. He talked about his long connection with Merseyside and his role in the regeneration of Liverpool and the regions as a whole. He spoke fondly of his time in Liverpool in the early 1980s and the desire of the people of the city to get things done and to turn Liverpool s fortunes around. He also expressed his gratitude to the City and said that he was humbled by the honours that Liverpool has bestowed on him over the years (he is a freeman of the city, holds an honorary doctorate from John Moores University and has a building named after him at the Liverpool University Management School). President Fletcher responded to the toast thanking Lord Heseltine for the work that he has done in making Liverpool a prosperous city region. It is testament to the President s work this year that he was able to secure such a prominent speaker in Lord Heseltine. However the President highlighted that times were still tough for criminal practitioners in particular and for all of those who depended on public funding for access to justice. But despite these tough times there is much to be positive about and the President encouraged the society members to take advantage of next year s International Festival for Business and the national and international opportunity that brings. Front row, left to right: Dame Lord Muirhead DBE, Lord-Lieutenant of Merseyside; Lord Heseltine CH; Lady Heseltine; Mr Alistair Fletcher, President; Mrs Glenys Hunt, Vice President; Cllr Roz Gladden, Deputy Mayor; Cllr Gary Millar, The Lord Mayor of Liverpool. Back row, left to right: HHJ Goldstone QC, Hon. Recorder of Liverpool; Mr Andy Bounds; Sheriff Ian Meadows OBE DL, the High Sheriff of Merseyside; Mr Jon Murphy QPM, Chief Constable of Merseyside Police. All that was left then was for the members and guests to dance the night away to live music from Madison, or relax in the Derby room if the dance floor was a little too hot! The Annual Dinner is an event to celebrate Liverpool Lawyers and the 2013 event did not disappoint. This year s event proved that. Certainly there seemed to be plenty of celebrations going on into the wee hours when the guests disappeared into the night. The Annual Dinner is an event which we, the city s lawyers, a cornerstone of the region s successful and diverse financial and professional sector should be proud of and should be proud to invite our guests along to. Where else will you hear anyone as well respected as Lord Heseltine praise the city s professionals and what better endorsement could we have. Nina Ferris Hill Dickinson LLP There was then a break in proceedings and as the wine flowed the noise levels in the room rose as over 400 members and guests enjoyed a delicious four course meal of smoked salmon roulade, a main of fillet of beef in whiskey sauce, light lime cheesecake followed by a selection of English cheeses and coffee and mints. The Vice President, Glenys Hunt, had her work cut out then to resume order to continue the speeches but did so admirably, thanking the guests and sponsors and commenting on how despite the economic climate it was heartening to see that the profession in Liverpool is surviving and thriving as evidenced by the new firms that were in attendance at this year s event. The final speaker was Andy Bounds, author of The Jelly Effect and The Snowball Effect. He talked about how we could make ourselves more prosperous by listening to our clients and talking to them about what they want the afters or how our clients would be better off after buying our services whether that is saving them time or cost or stress or helping them to grow their business or live in the house of their dreams. Andy s speech was a lively and entertaining way to end the formal part of the evening. 14 Liverpool Law The Fletcher Family

15 Annual Dinner Vida Wilson, British Insurance Brokers Association, Susana Heley, City of Westminster and Holborn Law Society, and Marie McAnaulty, Insurance Institute of Liverpool Max Steinberg, Alistair Fletcher and Lord Heseltine DTM Legal Law Society Council Members Charlie Jones and Richard Barnett The President Alistair Fletcher and sponsors Front row, left to right: Mark Edwards (DX), Roz Barnett (Wesleyan for Lawyers), Alistair Fletcher and Alex Barnes (Wesleyan for Lawyers) Back row, left to right: Andrew Baker (Baker Tilly), Neville Gustard and Peter Hathaway (both DX) Parry & Co Liverpool Law 15


17 Local News An Evening with Christina Blacklaws Director of Policy with Co-operative Legal Services 24th October 2013 There was a good turnout of members of the Liverpool and Chester and North Wales law Societies for this event. Christina was for many years in private practice running her own firm specialising in childcare law and mediation in London. She is a Law Society Council member and Chair of the Legal Affairs and Policy Board of the Society. She is a very impressive and personable woman. She began by giving us facts and figures about ABS s. There are now 236 licenses as at 17th October. Christina explained they carried out about 0.02% of legal business. She provided information about those behind the ABS s, the private equity houses which are pumping money into them, which organisations are grouped together, who is backing whom, and how ABS s affect the legal market. Then she told us about the Cooperative Legal services. Their strapline is here for you for life. They have 620 members of staff, including approximately 110 to 120 solicitors, and they have 14 training contracts. They operate on a one third ratio solicitor to non legal. Their work is in most consumer areas, conveyancing, family and wills and probate. The majority of the service is telephone based, but in answer to a question as to how they for instance establish that a person ringing up to make a will has the capacity to do so, we were told that the telephone interviews are highly scripted and if there is any hint that a vulnerable person is being put at risk, they don t do it. In family work involving court hearings they have contracts to provide face to face meetings at their bank outlets (most of which are in London) and they use panels of barristers chambers to deal with the hearings. They have had legal aid contracts so we have to assume they are equally affected by the reduction/extinction of the same. Christina s message to us was that the Hill Dickinson s Rachel Ashworth crowned Liverpool Idol 2013 Solicitor come singer helps raise 10,000 for Mencap Liverpool Rachel Ashworth, Solicitor at Hill Dickinson wooed a 200-strong crowd to be crowned Liverpool Idol and in the process help raise over 10,000 for local charity, Mencap Liverpool. Delivering a harmonious rendition of Use Somebody by Kings of Leon, Rachel beat off tough competition from six other strong acts, including Jennie Heyes, also of Hill Dickinson who came second with her performance of Rolling in the Deep by Adele, and Brian Humphreys of BWMacfarlane who sang I m A Believer by The Monkees to finish in a respectable third. Rachel said, I am delighted to have won Liverpool Idol 2013, particularly given that the standard of singing was so high. I am extremely grateful to Hill Dickinson LLP for putting me forward and to all those who came along in support. It was a fabulous evening that brought together some of Liverpool s strongest talent in aid of a really deserving cause. The X-Factor style event was held at Pan Am in the Albert Dock, and saw professionals from Liverpool s business community singing and cheering their hearts out for Mencap Liverpool, who support individuals with a learning disability and their families in the local area. The performances were judged by an impressive panel including Sense of Sound Director and vocal coach Jennifer John, former Frankie Goes to Hollywood star Brian Nash and local singer songwriter Steve Macfarlane. Left to right: Christina Blacklaws, Alistair Fletcher and Darlene Storrar, President of Chester & North Wales Law Society Co-operative legal Services can help the rest of us. How? They highly advertise and she says we will all benefit from that because their model (highly standardised and commoditised) will not suit all - some people want to sit down with an individual to give instructions for wills for example, and one size or type does not fit all. So there will be work for everyone. If the overall legal market expands we will all benefit. Her suggestions to the non ABS service providers is to engage with our local community, localise our marketing activities, ensure a quality service and embrace fixed fees. Sadly we ran out of time (she was catching a train back to London) so unfortunately we didn t get to ask all the burning questions that had been gathered, which was disappointing. So there are still a lot of question marks as to how they operate, and how they deal with particular types of cases. One thing is for sure. The Cooperative Legal services is here to stay, and there are lots more like them about to burst onto the market. We are warned! The thanks of the Society go to Gourmet Kingdom for the buffet provided Anne Heseltine Morecrofts HR Networking Lunch Friday 18th October Topic Reasonable Adjustments Joanna Wootten, Consultant and Associate for Business Disability Forum, was invited to attend the HR Networking Lunch to give a presentation on the topic of What should you do with your disabled clients or employees. Joanna spoke with compassion and understanding of the difficulties experienced by those with disabilities in modern society and presented a positive message to include a recap of the protected characteristics contained within the Equality Act Joanna gave examples of how specific issues may be overcome/what organisations can do to make reasonable adjustments to assist their clients and employees in an effort to ensure that their business is readily accessible to all. Joanna presented in an extremely positive manner and gave pragmatic guidance as to best practice coupled with solutions to encourage businesses to become disability-smart. The presentation promoted an open discussion around support mechanisms available to individuals with disabilities such as the Government s Access to Work Programme and ways this programme may be able to assist. Thank you to Joanna Wootten for presenting such a helpful and informative presentation on what may be described by many as a somewhat sensitive topic. The Society would also like to thank Towry for their kind support at this event. Claire Hardman Lees Solicitors HR Manager Liverpool Law 17

18 Regulation Regulation Update The latest regulation news from Michelle Garlick of Weightmans As the dark nights draw in, we reach the end of 2013 and take a moment to reflect on what a manic year it has been for the profession and a sobering end for those firms who were unable to find professional indemnity cover and who are having to wind down. I am sure I am not alone when I say that I hope 2014 is more uplifting and that the legal profession will dust itself off and come back fighting. Don t become too focused on compliance with LASPO Six months on from the implementation of the referral fee ban, the SRA issued a warning notice to personal injury firms based on its findings from supervising compliance with the new rules. The concern is that a number of firms are concentrating solely on compliance with the primary legislation and forgetting to ensure that their arrangements must also comply with the Code of Conduct and the SRA Principles. A worrying trend is for CMCs to charge claimants a proportion of their damages in return for being pointed in the direction of a suitable law firm. The law firm is then asked by the CMC to either make arrangements to deduct their fee from the damages or to forward the whole amount of damages over to the CMC for it to deal with. Such arrangements, as well as having the potential to fall foul of LASPO, carry the risk of breaching the Principles and Outcomes contained in the Code of Conduct such as the requirement to act in the best interests of the client, deal with conflicts appropriately and obtain the relevant client consents to any deductions. I echo the SRA s concerns as we have come across a number of poorly thought out back of fag packet schemes that fail to consider the full range of issues. We have been able to steer these firms in the right direction but for those who have yet to fully consider the SRA s warning, you need to do so sooner rather than later as the visits are now taking place and in a conference I attended recently, Richard Collins of the SRA commented that 2014 would be the year of enforcement for those firms breaching the ban. All for one and one for all Well maybe not exactly but 2014 will see us a step closer to finding out what the future holds for the regulation of the profession. By way of a reminder back in the autumn the Law Society, in its response to the MoJ s call for evidence on the regulation of Legal Services in England and Wales, set out its vision for the future and made it clear that it saw no benefit to be gained from creating a single independent regulator to oversee the professions. It argues that the expense of creating such a beast is prohibitive along with the practical and financial consequences for firms that will result from the inevitable creation of yet another set of regulatory changes for them to absorb. Whilst the Law Society may have made some valid points about the pace of change witnessed by legal professionals over the past 10 years its submissions were slammed by the wider community and in particular the SRA. The SRA, whilst not calling for a single regulator, calls for one that stands out as truly independent from both the profession and parliament and holds back no punches when it comes to describing the current model with its eight approved regulators as outdated and fragmented. What is clear is that over the next 12 months we all need to watch the regulatory landscape very carefully. The Clementi report and subsequent passing of the Legal Services Act 2007 have started a catalyst that will change the profession forever and it is only those firms quick enough to keep pace that will survive to represent the profession in the next decade. The consultation remains open and if you have any views on how you want to be regulated, now is the time to speak up. Data Deadline Looms How are you getting on with collecting the requisite diversity data from your workforce? Remember the deadline for submitting your firm s diversity data to the SRA is 31st January 2014, which may sound a long way off but once the dust from the holiday season settles it will come round quickly. This obligation to collect, report and publish stems from the Legal Services Board s goal to increase diversity and social mobility in the workforce. In line with this there are around 400 businesses who have signed up to the Law Society s Diversity and Inclusion Charter, an initiative which publicly commits members to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion within their organisation. Without wanting to sound overly cynical about an initiative that is for the benefit of the profession, it is difficult to see how a prescriptive monitoring exercise by the SRA will address the disparities in the profession unless it is supplemented by a more sophisticated analysis of the root causes of the variations we see constantly reported in the media. Grayling U-turn on small claims limit The MoJ surprised everyone in its response to the consultation on reducing the number and cost of whiplash claims by revealing that the government will not be increasing the small claims court limit, which had been rumoured to be rising to 5,000. Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has not ruled out a future increase and confirmed that the government was pressing ahead with plans for an independent medical panel to assess whiplash claims. New Practice Notes The Law Society has made some minor tweaks to existing practice notes to bring them into line with the ever changing regulatory landscape. The updates are: Compliance officers This practice note has been updated to distinguish between the reporting requirements of compliance officers in traditional firms versus those in ABSs. Remember - ABSs are required to include details of non-material breaches in their annual Information Report whereas this requirement has been relaxed for traditional firms. That said, traditional firms should still keep a record of all non material breaches for the purposes of being able to demonstrate an audit trail and to be able to risk assess whether or not a pattern is emerging that may ultimately require a report to be made. Also remember that the SRA can ask you to provide this information at any time. Anti-money laundering This practice note has been updated to make reference to the newlyformed National Crime Agency (NCA), which replaced the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) on 1 October And finally There has been a further addition to the SRA s Senior Management team. Crispin Passmore, has been poached from the Legal Services Board and he will assume the role of Executive Director with responsibility for policy on 6 January Crispin, who has been both praised for his creative thinking and criticised for his outspokenness, will be primarily focussing on policy reform and education training which has certainly been a hot topic for the SRA in The SRA pledged in its policy statement Training for Tomorrow to radically reform the current system which is likely to involve a departure from the prescriptive routes to qualification as a solicitor. Crispin, who has been vocal in his belief that a lot of legal work does not need to be done by lawyers, is an interesting choice of personality to spearhead this initiative. Will his views turn out to be too radical for our regulator? 18 Liverpool Law

19 CILEx Level 6 Qualifications starting January 2014 Highly qualified tutors City centre location Comfortable learning environment Study as part of your CILEx qualification or as a single subject if you have an interest in a specific area of law New for January 2013 Immigration Law Employment Law Land Law Public Law (limited places) Duration: 3 hours per week 5pm - 8pm starting w/c 18th January w/c 2nd June Course fee: vat Exam fee: 87 current CILEx members Exam fee including non member fee for those studying single subjects: Interested? Contact Helen Miller for further information or Phone: th Floor, The Corn Exchange, Fenwick Street, Liverpool L2 7QL Liverpool Law 19

20 Local News The national Law Society to partake in the International Festival for Business 2014 THE NATIONAL Law Society has announced it involvement in the International Festival for Business (IFB) 2014, which is to be staged across the Liverpool city region. The Society will take space at the IFB Hub, located in Mann Island on the city s waterfront throughout the sixweek festival. The festival programme will feature events focusing on particular sectors and identified global markets, including a focus on the financial and professional service industry during a specifically themed week, which will run from June 30 to July 4. The Law Society will have a dedicated presence at the events during this week. A series of fringe-events will also be organised by the Society. Further details are to be confirmed shortly. Julie Simms, partner at law firm DWF s Liverpool real estate team, said: The International Festival for Business will offer the perfect opportunity for those working in the legal sector to network and do business on an unprecedented scale. It makes perfect sense for the Law Society to be present throughout the festival and to help the legal sector engage with delegates at the festival in a focused co-ordinated and sector specific fashion. Liverpool is a hotbed of legal and financial practices, so we have also set up a steering group dedicated to securing key, international business focused, events throughout the financial and professional services thematic week and facilitating additional complementary events to provide delegates with a calendar of exciting business opportunities. Although the steering group is drawn from the North West Region we are engaging with associations, bodies and institutions to ensure a national and international reach.. Other confirmed events for the week include: UK Property Forum 2nd July UK Business Angels Association Conference - 1st 2nd July FSB will run a number of Events throughout the week UKTI sector and Market events throughout the week YES Young Entrepreneur Success Futures Gala - 3rd July ICAEW Futures Launch 1st July ICAEW International Student Council Meeting and Dinner 30th June Daily Post Regional Business Awards 3rd July Health is Wealth Conference Local Health Partnership 30th 1st July IFB 2014 will see tens of thousands of business delegates from around the world arrive in the city over six weeks in June and July next year. Events will be staged at venues across the city and video screens throughout the Hub will stream live footage from those events. The International Festival for Business is a 50-day, government-backed festival. It will connect UK businesses to new markets, new products and new partners and will be a global showcase of British industry. The event has received backing from some of the UK s leading business organisations, including EEF, the Confederation of British Industry, the Federation of Small Businesses, British Chambers of Commerce as well as UKTI. It forms a key part of the government s ambition to promote economic growth, rebalance the economy and double UK exports by For more information, please go to countdown calendar 6 months until IFB Liverpool Law

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