Barristers free to conduct litigation as Bar watchdog ushers in new ‘risk-based’ conduct regime

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While the post-Legal Services Act (LSA) shake-up moves far more slowly for barristers than their solicitor cousins, the Bar continues to modernise at its own pace with new conduct rules unveiled this month heralding significant reforms.

The Bar Standards Board last week unveiled its new code of conduct for barristers allowing self-employed advocates to conduct litigation for the first time and to form associations with non-barristers – two significant steps towards liberalising lawyer regulation. Continue reading “Barristers free to conduct litigation as Bar watchdog ushers in new ‘risk-based’ conduct regime”

Guest post: There is a market for judges emerging – but only winning with the oligarchs is not the answer either

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Moses LJ has set his satirical pen a scribbling in a recent speech reported in the Gazette. It simplifies, as satire must I suppose, but it got me thinking about something that has been bothering me for some time. Before I come to that, let me set the general theme. There is already a market for judicial services. It may not bite as hard or as dangerously as price competitive tendering, and it may not as directly influence the judges, but it is there nonetheless. It works on a number of levels. Forum shopping from judges can be a form of market for influence. Arbitration is a more obviously economic market in competition with the courts. Continue reading “Guest post: There is a market for judges emerging – but only winning with the oligarchs is not the answer either”

Litigation drives growth as Stewarts Law sees PEP break the £1m barrier

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The success of litigation-focused firms is again in evidence today (3 July) as Stewarts Law announced an increase in turnover of 29.5% to £45.2m for 2012/13 and average profits per equity partner of £1.1m.

The litigation boutique has seen its turnover almost quadruple from £11.9m in 2007/08 while net profit has hit £20.5m, following a year of key lateral hires and international expansion. Continue reading “Litigation drives growth as Stewarts Law sees PEP break the £1m barrier”

Legal profession forms united front on proposed cuts to legal aid

Last month court staff across the country took the unusual step of going on strike in a rare show of solidarity among all strands of the legal profession against the Ministry of Justice (MoJ)’s controversial proposals to slice £220m off the £1.2bn annual criminal legal aid budget.

The strike, while said by lawyers and court officials alike to have caused little disruption, stands out for being part of a series of measures taken by the ordinarily fragmented profession to emphasise its profound disapproval of reforms proposed by justice secretary Chris Grayling, including the introduction of price competitive tendering (PCT), the removal of the automatic right to legal aid for defendants with disposable income of more than £37,500 and the restriction of the right for defendants to choose their own solicitor.

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Still the divorce capital of the world – Supreme Court orders businessman to hand over assets in key ruling

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The landmark divorce battle between Yasmin and Michael Prest has come to an end as the Supreme Court  today (12 June) ruled Prest should hand over properties held by companies under his control.

The ruling – the most significant divorce case to reach the UK’s highest court since the 2010 judgment in Radmacher v Granatino – has been touted as instrumental in establishing whether London remains a key forum for resolving big-money divorce cases. The case has also been watched for its impact on the court’s treatment of the corporate veil, which protects company assets. Continue reading “Still the divorce capital of the world – Supreme Court orders businessman to hand over assets in key ruling”

Libel law to be overhauled as Defamation Bill gets royal assent

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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.

Continue reading “Libel law to be overhauled as Defamation Bill gets royal assent”

Disputes revival has huge implications for City law

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A few years ago – during what in retrospect turned out to be a boom – you knew where you stood with City law. The market kept growing and, while the man in the street associated lawyers with courts and disputes, those in the industry knew success came from the other side of the equation. In short, you made the real money from deal-doing and associated disciplines, not the contentious side of practice.

Continue reading “Disputes revival has huge implications for City law”

End games

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The 11th annual Legal Business Global London survey shows that US firms in the City are playing to win. UK rivals should watch every move.

Lock up your associates. Chain down your partners. The Americans still want to take your lawyers (and lunch). This year’s Global London survey emphatically confirms that leading US law firms are firmly back in growth mode in the City. Fifteen firms have seen headcount rise by more than 10% compared to 2011, while overall headcount across the 50 firms is up 2.6% on last year to 4,382.

Continue reading “End games”

Funding the fights

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With litigation funders having established their own industry regulator and starting to move into arbitration cases, there are more reasons to believe that third-party funding is here in a big way

Leslie Perrin, chairman of litigation funder Calunius Capital, remembers the atmosphere in New York during the autumn of 2008 when he was attempting to raise money for Calunius’s inaugural litigation fund. Tumbleweed was rolling down Wall Street and Citigroup’s share price was plunging by the second. It was an inauspicious time for raising capital.

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Ireland – Court Appeal

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Asked whether the Irish legal market is awash with contentious work, one leading litigator sighs deeply and quips: ‘Well, the country is certainly full of contention.’ Every dip in any economic cycle brings a raft of litigious work, but the spectacular collapse of Ireland’s banking and property sectors following the global credit crisis has brought unprecedented large-scale litigation, restructuring and administration (termed examinership in Ireland).

‘We are busier than we’ve ever been,’ confirms Liam Kennedy, head of dispute resolution at A&L Goodbody. ‘The first half of last year was all crisis litigation, but since then we’ve had a lot of big-ticket work, such as high-level restructuring, insolvency, regulatory and international asset tracing litigation.’ Continue reading “Ireland – Court Appeal”