Archive

Rising material inequality is hindering access to the legal profession

first_imgRising university costs are a hindrance to aspiring black lawyers, the Law Society announced at the conclusion of Black History Month. A timely observation, though Chancery Lane might have gone further. With annual tuition fees predicted to rise to £7,000, an issue that this week is viewed through the prism of race must also be observed through the prism of class. Soon, students who are not fortunate to be the offspring of monied parents will probably have to take on debts of £35,000 just to get a degree, never mind embark on legal training. The editor of this magazine knows for a fact this is going to further inhibit social mobility, because had that been the case 25 years ago he would not have gone to university. No way. Alan Milburn’s recent report, Fair access to the professions, shows how rising material inequality has reversed the progress that was made in opening up the legal profession after the second world war. Yet there seems to be a presumption in the diversity industry that were our society entirely colour blind, and indifferent to gender, sexual orientation and disability, all would somehow be well. Not so. What it would mean – what it will mean – is that poor students of whatever race, gender, sexual orientation or disability will be equally disadvantaged.last_img read more

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MoJ confirms quango cull

first_imgThe Ministry of Justice has today confirmed that the Youth Justice Board and two court rules committees are among the legal quangos to be abolished as part of a drive to cut costs and ‘reinvigorate public trust’ in democracy. The bodies to be scrapped include: the Youth Justice Board for England & Wales; the Chief Coroner’s Office; the Victims’ Advisory Panel; the Administrative Justice & Tribunals Council; the Courts Boards; the Crown Court Rule Committee; the Magistrates’ Courts Rule Committee; the Public Guardian Board; and HM Inspectorate of Court Administration. The future of the Judicial Appointments Commission, the Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman and the Advisory Panel on Public Sector Information remain under consideration, the MoJ said. The MoJ also confirmed that the Crown Prosecution Service will merge with the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office, while the Advisory Council on Historical Manuscripts and the Advisory Council on Public Records will merge with the lord chancellor’s Advisory Council on National Records and Archives. The Legal Services Commission will become an executive agency of the MoJ. Justice minister Jonathan Djanogly said: ‘This announcement marks an unprecedented step towards enhanced transparency, increased accountability and greater efficiency of all public services. Reform will help to reinvigorate the public’s trust in democracy. It will ensure the restoration of ministerial accountability for important decisions that affect lives and the way taxpayers’ money is spent.’last_img read more

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Family law

first_imgAdministration of justice – Ancillary relief – Anonymity – Conspiracy Sally Ann Lykiardopulo (appellant) v Panaghis Nicholas Fotis Lykiardopulo (respondent) and Michael Lykiardopulo (interested party): CA (Civ Div) (Lords Justices Thorpe, Stanley Burnton, Tomlinson): 19 November 2010 The appellant former wife (W) appealed against a decision that a judgment in ancillary relief proceedings should be reported after anonymisation. The ancillary relief proceedings between W and her respondent former husband (H) culminated in a 10-day trial. The judge found that H, his brother and another influential family member had conspired to manufacture, for the purposes of the trial, documents to show that H had terminated his involvement with the family business and divested himself of his interest therein. The family was a Greek ship-owning family. Having rejected the false case presented by the family, the judge ordered H to transfer to W assets and cash amounting to some £20m. W applied for public reporting of the judgment, which H opposed. The judge took the middle path between public reporting sought by W and no reporting sought by H and his brother, and held that the judgment should be reported after anonymisation. H submitted that the business interests of the family were entitled to protection under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 and that the risk of injury to H’s health had to be safeguarded. Held: (1) The judge had identified the articles of the convention that were engaged and balanced them to arrive at her conclusion. The conclusion which she reached accorded with the practice of the Family Division in respect of anonymity (see paragraphs 53-54 of judgment). (2) The principal consideration for the judge was the protection of the commercial interests of the family. But that consideration had no evidential foundation other than a general assertion by H. Without an evidential foundation, the assumption of commercial harm was implausible (paragraph 65). (3) In so far as anything in the judgment could be said to be commercially sensitive, then it could simply be redacted (paragraph 64). (4) As to H’s health, again the evidential base was thin (paragraph 68). (5) The judge considered, as a factor in favour of anonymisation, the prospect of parties feeling obliged to attend before external arbitrators in order to avoid the potential of automatic disclosure of private matters. However, there was no public policy objection to parties opting for an arbitrator or what was known as ‘private judging’, Spencer v Spencer [2009] EWHC 1529 (Fam), [2009] EMLR 25 considered (paragraph 69). (6) The desire of the children of the family for privacy weighed little since it was so little evidenced (paragraph 70). (7) Public judgment or the threat of public judgment should not be used as an aid to enforcement (paragraph 72). (8) The judge erred in placing unwarranted weight on the risk of future harm to the family’s business if the family’s perjury in the ancillary relief proceedings was published. Exercising the discretion afresh, there should be a public judgment. The judgment should be redacted to protect the privacy of H and the family wherever that protection could be given without reducing or veiling the scale of their litigation misconduct (paragraph 73). (9) The first attempt by counsel to anonymise the judgment in the instant case went too far; anonymisation had very clear limits which did not extend to falsification (paragraphs 49-51). Appeal allowed. Richard Spearman QC, Tim Bishop (instructed by Hughes Fowler Carruthers) for the appellant; Desmond Browne QC, Adam Wolanski, Stewart Leech (instructed by Atkins Thomson) for the respondent; David Balcombe QC (instructed by Manches) for the interested party.last_img read more

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Code for third-party litigation funders gets green light

first_imgA code of conduct for third-party funders of litigation has cleared its final hurdle and will be published later this month, the Gazette can report. The voluntary code, drafted by a working party set up by the Civil Justice Council as a means of providing a badge of respectability to genuine litigation funders, received the green light last week after the CJC’s main board said it was ‘content’ for the code to be published. Publication will represent the culmination of several years’ work in seeking to achieve a set of rules that can be agreed upon by funders, and which also address concerns raised by Lord Justice Jackson in his final report on civil justice. In particular, the CJC said that provisions to ensure that funders have enough money to invest in cases have been bolstered in the final version. The code will also contain a ‘QC clause’ to ensure that where there is disagreement between, for example, a claimant and funder over whether to pull out of the litigation, a senior barrister will be drafted in resolve the issue. It is understood that the final version of the code has met with widespread approval by third-party funders, with the main funders expected to sign up and become members of a new Association of Litigation Funders created by the code. Organisations acting as brokers to the third-party funding industry but are not funders themselves will be able to become associate members. The working group that drafted the code was chaired by Irwin Mitchell senior partner Michael Napier, supported by a committee including Rocco Pirozzolo, legal expenses underwriting manager at QBE; Leslie Perrin, chair of funder Calunius Capital; and Susan Dunn, head of litigation funding at Harbour Litigation Funding. Pirozzolo said the development would prove ‘an important milestone’ for the funding market. ‘Funders will look forward to the association and the code forming the basis for the market to grow. If solicitors or their clients were not persuaded by the legitimacy of funding as an option to finance a case, then any such doubts should now be dispelled.’ The final code will be launched on 23 November. A full analysis of its provisions will appear in the December issue of Gazette sister publication Litigation Funding magazine.last_img read more

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Regulatory reform of financial services

first_imgThe chancellor has now set out his detailed proposals for financial services regulatory reform. These seek to address three substantial concerns which became clear in the wake of the banking crisis: 1. The Memorandum of Understanding between the Financial Services Authority (FSA), the Bank of England and Treasury did not adequately clarify who was responsible for crisis management. 2. Responsibility for macro-prudential supervision – ensuring that the banking system as a whole was systemically ‘safe’ – was left unassigned. 3. Powers which were potentially conflictive – prudential supervision; conduct of business; market effectiveness and economic regulation – were all assigned to the FSA. To address these concerns, the UK is to adopt the ‘twin peaks’ model of regulation which has been used in Australia for some years, with great success. Success elsewhere will not of course guarantee success in the UK – much will depend on the way in which the proposals are implemented. Briefly, this will involve: 1. Assigning to the Bank of England two tasks – prudential supervision, through the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), of deposit takers, insurers and a small number of significant investment firms; and, through the Financial Policy Committee (FPC), the task of macro-prudential supervision. 2. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will be responsible for regulating conduct in retail and wholesale markets (including both exchange-operated markets and over-the-counter dealing); supervising the trading infrastructure that supports those markets; and for the prudential regulation of firms not prudentially regulated by the PRA. The PRA, FPC and FCA will all be new entities although it is to be expected that they will, at least to some extent, be staffed by FSA regulators and supervisors. The FSA itself will be dismantled. The proposals also clarify who will be ‘in charge’ in crisis situations. Since the taxpayer is likely to be involved in some aspects of any future recovery and resolution process, it seems reasonable that the chancellor should have final say on any action to be taken and in that sense will direct the crisis management operations. The Bank of England will undertake these, essentially as ‘project manager’. Some aspects of the proposals have come in for criticism. The Treasury select committee has in particular criticised perceived shortfalls in the standard of governance over the activities of the FPC. These criticisms stem mostly from two detailed proposals from the governor. The first of these relate to the minutes of the FPC’s proceedings which the Bank proposes should not routinely be made public. The second issue that has been raised relates to the proposed Oversight Committee of the FPC, which will be staffed entirely by non-executives but which will have no veto over FPC decisions. The Northern Rock episode reminded all of us of the impact of ‘herd instinct’ on systemic stability. The FPC will necessarily consider matters which, if made public, could easily trigger a reaction precisely the opposite of what was being sought. This seems to provide ample justification for the Bank’s stance. On oversight, in a sense the Bank is to be congratulated for proposing to establish the Oversight Committee of the FPC staffed by non-executives. Their role will doubtless be to advise and to challenge the FPC’s ‘executive’ members. To do so successfully, in my view, involves mutual trust and respect. The provision of a veto would likely change this dynamic, and not necessarily for the better. Non-executives in general occasionally fail in their task of challenging the executive, at which point they need to consider their position and, if necessary, resign. Doing so from the Oversight Committee will spark controversy and seems, in my view, to be a better final sanction than a veto. Similar thinking can be applied to related criticisms, such as the way in which the Bank will communicate with the chancellor through the governor. The new model of regulation and supervision will not be perfect, even when bedded in. The advantage for firms of the old regime was that all the powers were concentrated in one place. Under the new regime, some firms will need to deal with both the PRA and the FCA, and there will need to be effective liaison between the two authorities to avoid further burdening the firms. At best, navigating the new structure will be harder than it is today, even if its prospects for wider success seem good. Those prospects depend critically on the effectiveness with which the new structure is implemented. Two thoughts here. Firstly, many of us are hoping that the PRA adopts more of a ‘top down’ approach to supervision involving smaller, more senior teams, and the application of more judgement and less process. Whilst this might well be consistent with the way in which the Bank approached supervision under the old Banking Act, the world is arguably a much more complicated place now and getting adequate numbers of senior people would mean recruiting from the market in size. The second issue relates to the scope of prudential supervision. I find it curious that certain key elements of the wholesale market – clearing houses, inter-dealer brokers, futures brokers – will seemingly be supervised by the FCA. As MF Global has amply demonstrated, such players have the capacity to create systemic risk and their oversight might have been more desirably assigned to the PRA. The trend towards taking OTC volume into the cleared environment merely reinforces that concern. In conclusion, the new model should serve us better than its predecessor. For all kinds of reasons, we need it to be successful. Stephen Kingsley is a senior managing director in the London office of FTI Consulting. He works as an expert witness in financial services disputes, having been the global head of Arthur Andersen’s financial services practicelast_img read more

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Life in the fast lane

first_imgGet your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Subscribe now for unlimited access Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGINlast_img read more

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Deadline schmedline

first_imgTo continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Subscribe now for unlimited access Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAYlast_img read more

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Watch the skies

first_imgTo continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Subscribe now for unlimited access Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletterslast_img read more

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Oi, Le Corbusier …

first_imgStay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Subscribe now for unlimited access To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our communitylast_img read more

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Hansom

first_imgTo continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Subscribe now for unlimited access Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our communitylast_img read more

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