Uniting a profession, for what that’s worth – Bar and solicitors come together to oppose controversial legal aid reforms

Uniting a profession, for what that’s worth – Bar and solicitors come together to oppose controversial legal aid reforms

It’s no mean feat to get the various branches of the profession and legal regulators singing from the same hymn sheet but controversial government proposals to slice £220m off the annual criminal legal aid budget have managed just that. As the consultation today (4 June) closes on the Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ’s) ‘Transforming Legal Aid‘ proposals, the Law Society, Bar Council and Bar Standards Board (BSB) have combined to condemn the move. Continue reading “Uniting a profession, for what that’s worth – Bar and solicitors come together to oppose controversial legal aid reforms”

Guest post: The real ‘scumbag criminal’ is still free – a matter at democracy’s heart

‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’ – Martin Luther King – Letter from a Birmingham Jail – 16 April 1963.

Having already successfully stripped legal aid from so many areas of civil work, the government is now bearing down on criminal legal aid. ‘Price Competitive Tendering’ (or PCT) is one of the latest ‘in phrases’ but what does it amount to?

Stripped to its essentials, it means that anyone charged with an offence and who requires legal aid – (that is, most people) – will be allocated a defence lawyer working for one of a small number of large ‘defence factory’ commercial providers.
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Guest post: A Halsbury’s for the people and the battle against legal complexity

Guest post: A Halsbury’s for the people and the battle against legal complexity

The Cabinet Office and the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel have published a very interesting report criticising the complexity and quality of legislation and suggesting a much greater willingness to do something about it through an initiative dubbed Good Law.

This section gives a flavour:

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Libel law to be overhauled as Defamation Bill gets royal assent

Libel law to be overhauled as Defamation Bill gets royal assent

A three-year battle to bring libel law into the 21st century came to a close yesterday (25 April) as the Defamation Bill received Royal Assent.

The Defamation Act 2013 will mean that companies and individuals bringing a libel claim are now required to show serious harm – including serious financial loss for a company – to establish a claim.

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Committed to Crime – boutique firms and White-collar Crime

Committed to Crime – boutique firms and White-collar Crime

White-collar crime work was once the comfy preserve of niche London law firms that knew their way around the inside of a police station. Not any more. But as the big international players stake a claim, the boutiques are standing their ground.

When the Bribery Act came into force in July 2011, it shook the world of white-collar crime to its core. In one fell swoop the UK became home to the most stringent legislation combating corruption in the world, going beyond the scope of America’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Its strict measures created a worldwide trend of amplified anti-corruption enforcement, which is now booming in a similar fashion to competition law in the nineties, and the established legal market players found themselves with a fight on their hands.

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The Year of Discontent – Unions

The Year of Discontent – Unions

The past 12 months have been marked by a steep increase in industrial action impacting a number of major corporates. LB talks to the small group of firms manning the picket lines

It’s all a long way from beer and sandwiches at Number 10. Now, more than ever, large corporate employers are fighting threatened strike action launched by some of the country’s largest and most aggressive unions. However, instead of the threat of strikes being discussed behind closed doors in Downing Street, á la the 1970s, the drama is being played out in court.

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Nerves of steel: Ireland

Nerves of steel: Ireland

As little as five years ago, the consensus was that Ireland was a mature legal market. In a failed experiment, UK firm Masons (legacy firm of Pinsent Masons) had packed in its projects and construction boutique after a mere six years, citing fierce market competition.

Certainly, despite the construction boom, the Irish legal market was an unlikely place for an international firm to launch: it already had its Big Five — Ireland’s Magic Circle — plus several more entrepreneurial firms sitting below them getting ready to pounce. With a population of less than five million, it was inconceivable that a newcomer could threaten their domination. Who would want to move into such a tightly held monopoly? Nobody seemed surprised when Masons moved out in 2004.

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Appellation contrôlée

Appellation contrôlée

The European Court of Justice’s recent ruling on a seven-year fight between Google and LVMH could have significant effects on the use of trade marks in internet advertising. Legal Business examines the fallout from this landmark case

LVMH owns over 60 luxury global brands, including TAG Heuer watches and Louis Vuitton. The latter label, known for its monogrammed luggage, has just topped Millward Brown Optimor’s 2010 BrandZ Top 100 ranking of the world’s most valuable luxury labels for the fifth straight year, and is worth $19.8bn. Naturally, LVMH doesn’t take kindly to knock-off handbags flogged on street corners. Continue reading “Appellation contrôlée”