Cumulative cuts to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) budget over the past decade, amounting to 40% in total, have had a profound impact on the UK’s publicly funded legal system. One corollary is that there are too few senior judges. First and foremost, this is because insufficient candidates of quality have applied to become a High Court judge.
‘There seems to be a continued problem with recruitment, not in terms of quality, but in terms of numbers,’ says former chair of the Bar, Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC. Recognised as a perennial problem by the government, a streamlined application process was introduced last year. But this has done little to help. Vacancies remain across all three divisions: Queen’s Bench (QBD), Family and Chancery. Continue reading “‘Serious loss of morale’: The recruitment crisis at the bench deepens”
In a fresh reverse for Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer amid the string of disclosures of harassment impacting the profession, a partner at the City giant has exited following an internal investigation.
Nicholas Williams, a partner since 2017 in the Magic Circle firm’s London disputes practice, left the firm on 11 December after the firm launched an internal probe into personal misconduct allegations. Continue reading “Freshfields partner exits following internal conduct probe”
Legal secretaries and support staff will be the most affected by a decline in legal sector jobs in the next decade as the sector evolves and with increasing adoption of technology, according to a report commissioned by the Law Society.
Based on employment data gathered by the Institute for Employment Studies, the report estimates the UK legal sector will shed 13,000 jobs by 2027, a 4% drop on the 321,000 employed in 2017 and down from the pre-economic crisis peak of 345,000 in 2009. The most extreme prediction puts a further 22,000 jobs at risk if technology brings radical change to the workforce. Continue reading “Legal secretaries and support staff most at risk as industry loses up to 35,000 jobs by 2027”
The Conservative Party has been criticised for looking to rekindle the debate over judicial review and the Human Rights Act should it win the upcoming general election, with the creation of a Constitution, Democracy & Rights Commission also on the agenda.
The stripped-back manifesto promises to ‘update the Human Rights Act and administrative law to ensure there is a proper balance between the rights of individuals, our vital national security and effective government.’ Continue reading “‘A complete waste’: Tories revisit judicial review and Human Rights Act in latest manifesto pledges”
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has ushered in radical reforms to handling misbehaviour, including financial penalties, as the #MeToo fallout intensifies following former partner Ryan Beckwith’s prosecution for sexual misconduct.
The move sees a conduct committee established and new enforcement protocols which mean partners under internal investigation will receive a final warning about their behaviour and face an automatic fine equal to 20% of their profit share for 12 months. Continue reading “Tip of the iceberg: Beckwith prosecution sparks Freshfields misconduct and financial penalty clampdown”
The co-managing partner of DLA Piper’s Silicon Valley office has been let go by the firm following accusations of sexual assault by a fellow partner.
In an open letter published earlier this month (2 October), DLA partner Vanina Guerrero alleged that fellow partner Louis Lehot sexually assaulted her multiple times after recruiting her to the firm in September 2018. Lehot was the firm’s co-managing partner of its Silicon Valley office and co-chair of its emerging growth and venture capital practice, with Guerrero detailing four alleged assaults in Shanghai, Brazil, Chicago and Palo Alto. Continue reading “#MeToo: DLA Silicon Valley co-head forced out following sexual assault allegations”
Sir John Major (pictured) has instructed litigation heavyweight Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) as the former Prime Minister looks to join investment manager Gina Miller in a legal challenge against the suspension of Parliament.
HSF disputes partner Andrew Lidbetter has been enlisted to instruct The Rt Hon Lord Edward Garnier QC and Tom Cleaver of Blackstone Chambers, with the pair representing Major as he looks to get behind the existing claim brought by Miller, rather than initiating separate proceedings. Continue reading “HSF and Mishcon enlisted as legal battle over suspension of Parliament intensifies”
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”
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”
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”