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Updated: 2 hours 6 min ago

Law enforcers struggle with electronic evidence challenges

7 hours 24 min ago

Interrogation of director of public prosecutions Alison Saunders highlighted the justice system’s failure to adapt to the digital era.

Pimlico: solicitors split on future of ‘gig economy’

7 hours 24 min ago

Supreme Court ruled that plumber should be considered a ‘worker’ and entitled to rights such as holiday pay, but judges are accused of ‘bottling’ the chance to ‘modernise’ employment law.

Royal Mail GC: data demonstrates your value

7 hours 24 min ago

Hard data can help a general counsel (GC) demonstrate their legal team’s value to a business as well as cut its costs, Royal Mail’s GC told the Law Society’s flagship conference for in-house lawyers last week.


Maaike de Bie

In conversation with Stephen Denyer, the Society’s director of strategic relationships, Maaike de Bie said that when she became GC her law yers were working long hours, were stressed and were not respected by their business colleagues. A succinct ‘vision statement’ was produced to help colleagues understand the legal function’s purpose – which is to help colleagues make good decisions.

‘We’re not talking about the “best” or the “right”, but a ‘good’ decision,’ de Bie stressed.

Introducing an e-billing system ‘armed’ de Bie with data which enabled her to show how her team added value. She was able to tell the chief executive that 40% of the legal budget was spent on personal injury claims and suggested claims could be cut by talking to staff about their driving.

Major General Susan Ridge, director general of Army Legal Services, and Matthew Wilson, associate GC EMEA for taxi-hailing and foo d deliver y company Uber, were among those advising delegates during the two-day conference.

News in 60 seconds

7 hours 24 min ago

The news in brief.

Profession keeps on growing as women form the majority

7 hours 24 min ago

Ninety-five years after the profession admitted Carrie Morrison, women have overtaken men as a majority of practising solicitors. That is the stand-out finding of the Law Society Annual Statistics Report, which continues to track a trend of long-term and bullish growth.

There were 139,624 solicitors with practising certificates (PC) in 2017, a 2.5% increase on the previous year and broadly in line with annual growth over the past 10 years. That is a rise of 29% in the last decade alone, highlighting just how well the profession rode out the financial crisis, and compares with a figure of just 48,937 in 1987.

Women now make up 50.1% of PC holders and 48% of the 93,155 solicitors working in private practice. Some 62% of new admissions in 2016/17 were women.

Nearly 17% of PC holders with known ethnicity are from black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) groups. Asian solicitors remain the best represented of BAME groups, making up 8.2% of all PC holders.

Law Society president Joe Egan said: ‘With more women than men and a steadily growing proportion of solicitors from a [BAME] background, it is more important than ever the profession recognises and rewards talent equally.

‘Every step towards greater equality will benefit businesses, clients and solicitors alike. ’

McFarlane LJ echoes Munby over family justice ‘disaster’

7 hours 24 min ago

A national board set up to improve the performance of the family justice system and chaired by government ministers had not met for 17 months until recently, the president-designate of the family division has revealed.

For this crucial co-ordinating body not to be functioning at a time of crisis ‘is a disaster’, Lord Justice Andrew McFarlane declared.

McFarlane, who takes over from Sir James Munby as family division chief next month, was speaking at an event to unveil the findings of a cross-sector review, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, into the crisis in children’s social care.

The Court of Appeal judge said Munby was ‘plainly right to blow the whistle when he did’ two years ago over the significant rise in the number of care applications being received by the courts. This ‘is by no means abating’, he added.

Judges are dealing with a higher number of private law applications as well as an increased public law workload, McFarlane said. Pre-proceedings work under public law orders are ‘seen to be the entrance lobby to the courtroom, where the local authority are doing no more than ticking a box or using the process to gather evidence, rather than making a genuine effort to deliver a wake-up call to parents and divert them from the court process’, he added.

McFarlane said family justice boards are essential to the system operating well. The Family Justice Board is chaired by the Ministry of Justice and Department for Education. It has three sub-groups: the Family Justice Council, the Family Justice Young People’s Board and a performance improvement sub-group. McFarlane said the performance sub-group is the only arm that is active.

He added: ‘At a time of crisis, for the single element in the system that brings the key players together locally and nationally not to be functioning is a disaster and can properly be seen to be part of the problem. For this decline to be reversed immediately is, to my mind, a no-brainer.

CoA awards £60k damages against 'unscrupulous' fake firm fraudsters

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 17:39

Lawyers say decision resolves decades of uncertainty around the application of exemplary damages.

Edward Argar MP joins justice ministerial team

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 17:23

Dr Phillip Lee replaced by another non-lawyer at Ministry of Justice. 

Legal aid 'likely' for bereaved families at inquests, MoJ announces

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 13:46

Ministry of Justice says exceptional case funding guidance is being changed while officials listened to practitioners' frustrations.

City firm keen to find CVA solution

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 13:10

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner in discussions with both sides over controversial rescue method.

Costs master denies another client's demand to see claim files

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 12:52

Latest disclosure request in costs challenge turned down - but judge says issue will be discussed further at appeal.

Commission to consider regulation of artificial intelligence

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 12:38

Law Society launches year-long investigation into the impact of algorithm-driven AI on human rights and the justice system. 

DWF latest to ponder stock exchange float

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 09:59

Manchester firm promises ‘business as usual’ as it considers initial public offering. 

Lawyers worried for future - but few doing anything about it

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 06:42

Bellwether report finds awareness of the changing legal market but few signs of action to address it.

'Abuse' warning as investigations into power of attorney surge

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 17:05

Office for Public Guardian says investigations are up 40% in the last year.

Freelance solicitors given go-ahead - without minimum indemnity cover

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 12:36

Law Society calls on super-regulator to step in and halt 'damaging' SRA plans which will 'undermine trust' in solicitors.

Interim Paul Tennant appointed permanent Law Society CEO

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 12:13

The Law Society has appointed Paul Tennant, interim chief executive since last year, as its permanent CEO with immediate effect.

In a statement, the Society noted that Tennant has worked on sharpening the Society’s focus, with more to be done to improve communications with members and keep them up to date, and to support solicitors throughout their careers.

Robert Bourns, chair of the Law Society’s Board said: ‘We are delighted Paul has been confirmed in the role after an open and rigorously competitive process. Paul has a strong track record as CEO in another sector, building the business and its capacity for change. As interim he helped us introduce changes to governance while maintaining a focus on the value we deliver to our members, now and in the future. We look forward to developing this work without interruption, with Paul at the helm.’

Paul Tennant

Source: Michael Cross

Paul Tennant

Tennant, pictured right, previously worked for various housing associations and was most recently chief executive of Orbit Group.

His spell as interim CEO at Chancery Lane has coincided with the introduction of significant changes to Society governance. These include the establishment of the new Board, and new committees for Policy and Regulatory, and Membership and Operations.

Chancellor urged to stop 'outrageous' partner opt-out from pay gap reporting

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 10:41

Call comes as magic circle firm vows to report gender gap - including partners - later this year.

ENRC sues Serious Fraud Office over 'whistleblower failures'

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 06:35

Claim is latest twist in long-running battle between fraud buster and mining company.

SRA expands price publication plans to new practice areas

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 01:01

Firms will have to post prices for employment tribunal, immigration, motoring and probate work as well as small business services.