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News - Feb 2005



This page features news and news items relating to UnjustIS matters.  Follow the hyperlinks to the external source (opens in a new window) or an UnjustIS news sheet.  Most recently posted items top the list.  To report broken or outdated links please visit the Contacts section.


Solicitors and other lawyers making the bad news from 2003 to date: News Roundup


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February 2005




Title and description of item or excerpt.

Links - the full story

Date posted on UnjustIS


New jobs at the Law Society

"Following the recommendations of a Governance Review Group, the Law Society’s Council has decided to create a much greater separation between the Law Society’s regulatory and representative roles, and to appoint two new bodies to carry out the regulatory functions. The Law Society wishes to appoint to the Regulation Board, a Chair (who must be a solicitor) and 15 members with a mixture of solicitor and lay backgrounds (with solicitor members comprising the majority). To the Consumer Complaints Board, a Chair (who must not be a lawyer) and 12 members with a mix of solicitor and non-lawyer backgrounds (with non-lawyer members comprising the majority). It will be important for membership of the Boards to reflect the diversity of the solicitors’ profession and the society it exists to serve. Request the application pack for further information and the application form which needs to be completed by all candidates."

KMC International

01 Mar

Judge: Newspaper Can Protect Sources

NEW YORK (AP) - The New York Times has a First Amendment right to protect the confidentiality of its sources by denying the government phone records in certain instances, a judge ruled Thursday.


24 Feb

'Slip-and-trip' fraud crackdown

Councils in Wales are to crack down on bogus personal injury claims against them in an effort to tackle rising costs, a BBC investigation has found. Local authorities spent £20m in 2003 on road-related compensation, mostly on people's "slip-and-trip" injuries.


23 Feb

Phone fraud that's hard to resist

YOU MAY believe that you would never fall victim to investment scams. Britons are conned out of millions of pounds each year by boiler rooms — high-pressure sales operations which sell worthless stocks and shares over the phone. But you wouldn’t be fooled. Or would you?

Sunday Times

20 Feb

Report will call for easier access to legal profession

THE Competition Authority report on the legal profession, due to be published on Thursday, will call for the removal of many of the distinctions between solicitors and barristers, but will stop short of recommending a fusion of both professions.

Sunday Times

20 Feb

Lawyers Face Tough High Court Selection Process

Lawyers who want to become High Court judges will have to apply for the job under a new framework launched by the Government, it emerged today. The Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) has abandoned a system in which some candidates were nominated for promotion with a so-called “tap on the shoulder”.

The Scotsman

18 Feb

Watchdog critical of legal system

THE UK's most powerful consumer watchdog has taken the rare step of going beyond its remit to ask searching questions about the Scottish public's access to justice when complaining about solicitors.

The Herald

17 Feb

Yard Launches Huge Crackdown on Fraud Gangs

Scotland Yard today launched its biggest-ever drive to crackdown on professional fraudsters who are estimated to cost the capital’s economy £28 billion a year. Codenamed Sterling, the initiative will target the organised criminal gangs and career con-men who fund their lavish lifestyles by deceiving both big business and the public.

The Scotsman

16 Feb

Bent solicitor thrown out

A DISHONEST Wirral solicitor used £10,000 entrusted to him by a client to pay his own salary, a disciplinary hearing was told yesterday. Gordon Kingan, 50, was thrown out of the profession after the tribunal heard how he also used a cheque drawn on his client's account to pay his mortgage.

IC Liverpool

16 Feb

SIF surplus runs to £55m

The Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF) has reported an accumulated surplus of £54.5m.
The news comes almost five years after SIF was put into run-off, following the discovery of a significant shortfall in the fund. Since 1 September 2000, law firms have had to buy professional indemnity insurance on the open market, creating a fall in premiums.

The Lawyer

15 Feb

Court Backs Activists in 'McLibel' Case

Two activists found to have libeled the U.S. fast food chain McDonald's after the longest court case in English legal history did not have a fair trial, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on Tuesday.


15 Feb

Solicitor sacked after BBC sting

This item has been temporarily removed pending enquiries about the broken link. UJ has a cached version of the original article, which featured here:


BBC (link broken)

14 Feb

NatWest trio sue Serious Fraud Office

THREE City bankers facing extradition to the US for their part in an alleged conspiracy with the disgraced energy firm Enron will this week launch a judicial review against the British Government.

This is London

14 Feb

Corruption Probe Lawyer Facing Jail for Fraud (updated)

A barrister employed to unearth corruption in the British travel industry was behind bars today after admitting defrauding the organisation that hired him. Ricardo Nardi, 36, who was the head of legal services at the Association of British Travel Agents, siphoned off nearly £1 million from its coffers during a seven-year betrayal of trust.

The Scotsman

11 Feb

Insurer 'ran fraud for 10 years'

Equitable Life policyholders are stepping up their battle for compensation with the delivery of a report accusing the insurer of "systematic fraud" to the Serious Fraud Office.


10 Feb

Office of Fair Trading launches Scams Awareness Month


09 Feb

Man Arrested for Lawyer Jokes Cleared

A man arrested after telling lawyer jokes at a courthouse got the last laugh when a grand jury dismissed the disorderly conduct charge against him.


09 Feb

Law Society’s complaint sees off watchdog

THE governing body for Scottish solicitors has engineered the removal of a respected consumer watchdog from the executive taskforce reviewing Scotland's legal services market.

The Herald

08 Feb

Ombudsman takes on more staff to deal with mis-selling

THE Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman is to increase her investigation team from four to six individuals, specifically to cope with a flood of complaints concerning alleged endowment policy mis-selling by solicitors.

The Herald

07 Feb

Would you trust these men with $64bn of your cash? Of course not

"Asked to account for the appearance in his bank account of a certain $160,000, Mr Sevan, executive director of the UN Oil-for-Food programme, said it was a gift from his aunt."

Telegraph (Opinion)

06 Feb

Solicitors undertook irreconcilable duties

"A man may have a duty on one side and an interest on another. A solicitor who puts himself in that position takes upon himself a grievous responsibility. A solicitor may have a duty on one side and a duty on the other, namely, a duty to his client as solicitor on the one side and a duty to his beneficiaries on the other; but if he chooses to put himself in that position it does not lie in his mouth to say to the client 'I have not discharged that which the law says is my duty towards you, my client, because I owe a duty to the beneficiaries on the other side'. The answer is that if a solicitor involves himself in that dilemma it is his own fault. He ought before putting himself in that position to inform the client of his conflicting duties, and either obtain from that client an agreement that he should not perform his full duties of disclosure or say - which would be much better - 'I cannot accept this business.' I think it would be the worst thing to say that a solicitor can escape from the obligations, imposed upon him as solicitor, of disclosure if he can prove that it is not a case of duty on one side and of interest on the other, but a case of duty on both sides and therefore impossible to perform."

In this case the poor soul had to wait FIFTEEN years before even getting a sniff at justice. UJ.

House of Lords


05 Feb 2005

Law society reforms handling of complaints

THE governing body for solicitors in Scotland yesterday unveiled further reforms of its much-criticised complaints-handling regime, amid renewed scrutiny of its cherished right of self-regulation.

The Herald

04 Feb

Gangmaster guilty over £5m racket

A Ukrainian gangmaster - who built a business out of illegal workers - has been convicted of breaking immigration laws and money laundering. Victor Solomka, 44, of King's Lynn, Norfolk, who arrived in the UK as an asylum seeker four years ago, denied the charges.


03 Feb

Citigroup embroiled in bond selling scandal

A leaked memo, purportedly written before a controversial bond trade last year, piled embarrassment on to US financial giant Citigroup today. The internal Citigroup memo outlined ways to shake up the eurozone government bond market just weeks before the trades occurred.


02 Feb

Watchdog unveils £1bn league table of scams

Fraudsters are cashing in on the house price boom with scams that persuade would-be property investors to hand over thousands of pounds. The Office of Fair Trading yesterday revealed the "property ladder" scams as it announced a list of the top 10 rip-offs that are costing many thousands of unsuspecting Britons a total of about £1bn a year.

Financial Times



02 Feb

FSA embarks on internal review

The Financial Services Authority yesterday launched an internal review of its investigation procedures that will report in July to a newly created committee of directors that includes Tim Herrington, the head of its independent enforcement arm.


02 Feb

Legal worker stole to pay off debts

A PROBATE manager for a Suffolk solicitors' firm who stole £19,000 from clients' estates to pay off gambling debts has been jailed for 18 months. Father-of-three Gary Beales used bank cards given to him for safekeeping to withdraw money from cash points and even bought himself a car with £7,000 taken from another estate, Ipswich Crown Court heard yesterday.

East Anglian Daily Times

02 Feb

Blair to trail benefits reforms

Major reforms to the benefits system are needed to make sure people who can work are not "written off", Tony Blair is to say. "Mr Blair wants to move more people on incapacity and other benefits into work and use the savings on pensions."


01 Feb

US failed to keep track of $9bn given to ministries in Baghdad

The US occupation authority that ran Iraq until mid-2004 failed to monitor the end use of almost $9bn (£5bn) in funds it transferred to government ministries in Baghdad, according to an official audit report published in Washington.


01 Feb

Law Soc, Bar Council press for selection of judges to be based on individual merit

The Law Society and the Bar Council are urging for radical reforms to the way judges are appointed.
In a response to the ‘Increasing Diversity in the Judiciary’ consultation paper issued by the Department of Constitutional Affairs (DCA), both bodies said merit had to be paramount when selecting judges.

The Lawyer

31 Jan

Lord Chancellor Title to Escape Axe

The centuries-old title of Lord Chancellor will escape the axe in the Government’s radical shake-up of the judicial system, it was confirmed tonight. Courts Minister Christopher Leslie said the Constitutional Reform Bill would be altered to restore the name despite the office holder’s role being fundamentally altered.

The Scotsman

31 Jan

The WorldCom scandal

Bernie Ebbers, the former CE of WorldCom, has gone on trial, accused of allegedly cooking the books during his time at the company to the tune of $11bn. It's been a long road, from the first signs of trouble back in 2002, to WorldCom's emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and rebirth as MCI Inc., to Sarbox legislation, to the current trial.

Accountancy Age


Third of law firms reject move to LLP status

More than a third of law firms say they will never convert to limited liability partnership (LLP) status, according to a new survey.

The Lawyer

31 Jan

Huge rise in value of fraud cases takes total to record £28m

THE value of serious fraud cases in Scotland rose by 300% last year to a record level of more than £28m, according to a leading accountancy firm.

The Herald

31 Jan

ICAS out to ease burden of suspicious activity reports

THE UK's legal and accountancy professions knuckled down under the new anti-money-laundering regime last year and submitted thousands of Suspicious Activity Reports about clients, new figures show. However, Scottish accountants remain hopeful that a procedural review will allow them to reduce their reporting burden through "client privilege".

The Herald

31 Jan

Barristers want clients to contact them directly

Tom McEnaney
THE Bar Council has decided to encourage professionals to bypass solicitors and approach barristers directly. The move is expected to anger solicitors, who traditionally earn generous fees for acting as a conduit to members of the bar.

Sunday Times

30 Jan

'If you don't take a job as a prostitute, we can stop your benefits'

A 25-year-old waitress who turned down a job providing "sexual services'' at a brothel in Berlin faces possible cuts to her unemployment benefit under laws introduced this year.


30 Jan





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