Burford names new CFO and governance shake-up amid activist investor row

Burford names new CFO and governance shake-up amid activist investor row

Litigation funder Burford Capital has appointed a new CFO and begun a search for two new independent directors to its board as its protracted and increasingly public row with US investor Muddy Waters rages on.

Burford confirmed today (15 August) that Jim Kilman will become the company’s new CFO, replacing Elizabeth O’Connell, who is married to its chief executive Christopher Bogart. The personal relationship between the two was a key point Muddy Waters raised earlier this month in a stinging critique of the funder’s governance and accounting standards. Continue reading “Burford names new CFO and governance shake-up amid activist investor row”

Scottish judge fast-tracks legal challenge to stop a forced no-deal Brexit

Scottish judge fast-tracks legal challenge to stop a forced no-deal Brexit

A judge at the Court of Session in Edinburgh has fast-tracked a legal challenge to prevent Prime Minister Boris Johnson from proroguing Parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit, following a petition from over 70 MPs and peers.

As a result, Lord Doherty ruled that an urgent hearing of the case should be conducted on 6 September, after the matter was heard in a Scottish court as equivalents in England do not sit over the summer. Continue reading “Scottish judge fast-tracks legal challenge to stop a forced no-deal Brexit”

No-deal Brexit could trigger £3.5bn revenue drop in UK legal market

No-deal Brexit could trigger £3.5bn revenue drop in UK legal market

The UK legal services market could experience a 10% fall in revenue following a no-deal Brexit, according to a Law Society report, labelled by one City partner as ‘sensationalist’.

The findings, published today (1 August), predict that the UK legal sector would see a £3.5bn decrease in turnover, as well as 10,000 job cuts, if the UK leaves the European Union on 31 October without a deal. Continue reading “No-deal Brexit could trigger £3.5bn revenue drop in UK legal market”

Brexit vs Dicey – The constitutional lawyer’s view on these strange days

Brexit vs Dicey – The constitutional lawyer’s view on these strange days

With Brexit entrenching divisions, Britain’s patchwork constitution is being increasingly pitted against political upheaval. Do legal experts see crisis brewing?

Britain has developed an uncharacteristically laid-back attitude to constitutional change, with once-rare reforms to the UK’s ad hoc democratic settlement coming at a startling pace in recent years. The previous Labour administration ushered in varying degrees of devolution in Scotland and Wales, before in 2003 pulling the UK’s highest court out of the House of Lords and into the new Supreme Court (tacked on was reform of the Lord Chancellor’s historic role). The process of further EU integration under the Maastricht Treaty, not to mention Labour’s 1998 Human Rights Act, which gave domestic force to the European Convention on Human Rights, also had significant impact. Continue reading “Brexit vs Dicey – The constitutional lawyer’s view on these strange days”

Buckland becomes Justice Secretary as Johnson administration unveils Brexit-dominated team

Buckland becomes Justice Secretary as Johnson administration unveils Brexit-dominated team

The newly-installed British Government led by Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson will see a barrister take the role of Justice Secretary after Robert Buckland QC was appointed to replace David Gauke.

Johnson announced Buckland’s appointment on Wednesday (24 July) as part of the new Prime Minister’s sweeping cabinet shake-up that saw all but four of the senior ministers that served under his predecessor Theresa May resign or fired. Continue reading “Buckland becomes Justice Secretary as Johnson administration unveils Brexit-dominated team”

Government ushers in emergency pay boost for judges amid mounting staff shortages

Government ushers in emergency pay boost for judges amid mounting staff shortages

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has ushered in an emergency boost to senior judges’ remuneration as an unprecedented recruitment crisis continues to grip the Bench. The move, announced on Wednesday (5 June), is in response to a review by the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB) and will see High Court judges handed a 25% annual bonus and circuit and upper tribunal judges a 15% raise.

As part of a two-year temporary ‘bonus’, High Court judges will receive £47,225 on top of their £188,901 yearly pay in addition to a 2% pay rise. Circuit and upper tribunal judges will be paid £21,043 in addition to a £140,289 salary. Continue reading “Government ushers in emergency pay boost for judges amid mounting staff shortages”

The risk report – Reputations tarnished as #MeToo fallout hits the legal profession

The risk report – Reputations tarnished as #MeToo fallout hits the legal profession

Last year’s risk management and professional indemnity report with broker Marsh told a story of progress; firms felt risk culture had significantly improved in the ten years since Lehman Brothers’ collapse. However, risk remains a moving target and there is a feeling recent unpleasant episodes at a number of City law firms means much-touted improvements in culture have yet to include progress in professional ethics.

‘I’m a great believer in the risk team playing a key part in defining a firm’s culture,’ says Walkers’ chief compliance officer Angela Robertson. ‘Fundamentally, risk teams enforce types of appropriate behaviour, whether dealing with clients or third parties. So it being involved in defining culture is no different really. Currently risk teams don’t have a specific remit to do so though.’ Continue reading “The risk report – Reputations tarnished as #MeToo fallout hits the legal profession”

Calls for a ‘radical overhaul’ of NDAs as #MeToo saga prompts UK gagging order law reform

Calls for a ‘radical overhaul’ of NDAs as #MeToo saga prompts UK gagging order law reform

The government has proposed new legislation that would make it illegal for employers to use gagging orders to prevent the reporting of sexual misconduct in the workplace to police.

The move, announced by business minister Kelly Tolhurst today (4 March), comes as #MeToo continues to rage in the legal profession and beyond after the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to hide sexual offences came to light in several high-profile cases. Continue reading “Calls for a ‘radical overhaul’ of NDAs as #MeToo saga prompts UK gagging order law reform”