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News

 

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  To report broken or outdated links please visit the Contacts section.

 

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A comprehensive, rich source of UK legal news: LegalDay

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Go straight to the LegalDay Fraud section  where you can download the Consultation on Proposals for Legislation (PDF)

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January 2005

 

 

 

Title and description of item or excerpt.

Links - the full story

Date posted on UnjustIS

 

 

 

     
     
     

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.

Telegraph

30 Jan

Five years for banker in City betting ring

A former City banker has been jailed for five years for using insider information to bet on share price movements. Asif Butt, 35, of Garston, Hertfordshire, was sentenced alongside four old school friends at Southwark Crown Court for what Judge Christopher Elwen described as his "flagrant, calculated and deliberate breach of trust".

Telegraph

29 Jan

Police warning to runaway conman

'You cannot hide forever'

A FUGITIVE conman whose crooked housing repair firms targeted vulnerable Yorkshire pensioners was today warned: "You can run but you can't hide." Six months after Midland Coating Company boss Chris Woodhead was found guilty of a ruthless £400,000 swindle, the Serious Fraud Office has confirmed that he has yet to be brought to justice.

Leeds Today

28 Jan

MONEY LAUNDER PROBE

TWO Pendle solicitors were among eight people charged this week in connection with allegations of money laundering. The charges are a result of a major police probe under Operation Flourish. The eight were originally arrested, interviewed and bailed in spring of last year.

Pendle Today

28 Jan

Consultant who stole £147,000 walks free

A FINANCIAL controller who embezzled more than £147,000 from an Edinburgh car dealership walked free from court... Catherine Arnott, 44, was sentenced to 300 hours community service after admitting to stealing the cash from the Abercromby Motor Group between 31 August, 1999 and 12 November, 2001.

The Scotsman

28 Jan

Thieving charity treasurer jailed

A 79-YEAR-OLD Burma war veteran who swindled a charity out of £18,070 has been jailed for nine months. David Melrose used the current account of Victoria Almshouses in Deerings Road, Reigate, and London Road, Redhill, to make cheques out to himself, and when funds ran low he began selling off the charity's stocks and shares.

IC Surrey Online

28 Jan

City banker conned firm out of £900k

A Hendon high-flier was jailed for four years on Friday after stealing almost £1 million from a City bank.
Ameer Aka, 29, of Newark Way, conned Credit Suisse International out of £920,977 despite being tipped to become the youngest-ever director of the banking giant.

Edgware Times

28 Jan

Escaped con stole mail bags

AN ESCAPED prisoner stole almost £17,000 using credit cards stolen from the post - with the help of Royal Mail staff. Gareth Tuvnes, 24, walked out of an open prison in Mid Wales just a month into his sentence. He then linked up with a gang including crooked Royal Mail employees to carry out a string of thefts.

IC Wales

28 jan

Workers face years of legal battles

Staff at Allders could face years of uncertainty over their pension savings if their final salary scheme becomes the subject of a dispute between the government and the majority owner, Minerva, over which of them is liable for funding shortfalls.

Guardian

28 Jan

Solicitors facing a bidding war for £2bn legal aid work

SOLICITORS will be forced to bid against each other in a price war for the right to do legal aid work, under plans outlined yesterday. The plans from the Legal Services Commission, which runs the £2 billion-a-year legal aid scheme, could lead to hundreds of law firms having to close if their bid fails.

The Times

28 Jan

'Pinochet' bank faces $16m fine

A US bank has admitted failing to report suspicious activity relating to accounts held by Augusto Pinochet and the government of Equatorial Guinea. Riggs Bank agreed to pay a fine of $16m (£9m) after an investigation by the US justice department into its handling of foreigners' accounts.

BBC

28 Jan

Ex-Microsoft Worker Pleads Guilty to Software Theft

A former Microsoft Corp. (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) employee pleaded guilty on Wednesday to selling the world's largest software maker's products for more than $7 million for personal profit, federal prosecutors said. Finn Contini, 36, admitted to ordering software through Microsoft's internal systems under the pretense it was for internal use and using the money to buy real estate, cars and jewelry, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

Reuters

28 Jan

'Professor' jailed for £1.5m swindle

A FORMER taxi driver who posed as an eminent psychiatrist, making more than £1.5 million treating patients and helping hundreds of asylum-seekers to remain in Britain, was jailed for ten years yesterday. In one of the biggest frauds of its kind uncovered, Barian Baluchi, 43, convinced judges, lawyers, doctors, charities and government departments that he was an eminent psychiatrist and respected professor.

The Times

27 Jan

View from here: Proposing to take action

Consumer groups have welcomed President Chirac’s announcement of proposals for the introduction of class action lawsuits in France, but Medef, which represents French companies, has concerns.

Legal Week (International)

27 Jan

Falconer in storm over legal aid cuts

Lord Falconer, the lord chancellor, will today face accusations of introducing American style economy justice to Britain by planning to save millions of pounds through putting out all criminal legal aid in London to the lowest bidder.

Guardian

27 Jan

Sweet & Maxwell expected to confirm dawn raids

SWEET & MAXWELL, the legal publisher owned by Thomson Corporation, is expected to confirm that it has been raided by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) over a £1 million suspected accounting fraud.

The Times 26 Jan

Accountant stole £9million to feed gambling habit

A 32-year-old accountant who stole more than £9million to fund a gambling addiction has been jailed for five years. Wing Kit Chu, a treasury manager with engineering giant Charter plc, took huge sums from his employer over a four year period.

Ealing Times

BBC

26 Jan

The tragic scandal of welfare Britain

"It’s hard to argue that such treatment is social justice. Writing someone a lifelong sick note and telling them they need never work again is not compassion. It is a scandalous dereliction of duty."

The Scotsman

26 Jan

Ebbers 'lied again and again' over $11bn fraud at WorldCom

Bernie Ebbers, the founder of WorldCom, the telecommunications company, was portrayed alternately as a scheming chief executive and a kind-hearted, rags-to-riches entrepreneur as lawyers clashed yesterday at the opening of his criminal trial.

Financial Times

26 Jan

Dump the lawyer, cut the bill

THROWING solictors out of court has reduced Charter Housing's annual legal bill by 95 per cent.

Taken from: The Times

26 Jan

Lawyers who charged face flood of claims from ex-miners, MP warns

A CAMPAIGNING MP last night warned solicitors who charged for miners' compensation they could face a flood of repayment claims after a Law Society ruling. Bassetlaw Labour MP John Mann said the decision to force Barnsley-based Raleys, official solicitors of the National Union of Mineworkers, to itself pay compensation to a former miner it charged for a vibration white finger claim would set an important precedent. Update: Miners' Claims News 2004-2007

Yorkshire Post

26 Jan

Tribunal told law firm kept cash for office use

SEVEN solicitors were accused yesterday of misusing huge sums of clients' money to try to keep their business afloat. It was claimed the partners in Hull firm Carrick Carr Wright kept stamp duty and land registry money in office accounts to reduce their overdraft. Cashier Kevin Rooney even gave himself a bonus to help pay for a holiday villa, the Solicitors' Disciplinary Tribunal heard.

Yorkshire Post

UJ

25 Jan

Prufrock: Nadir's solicitor is struck off

Peter Krivinskas, long-standing adviser and lawyer to Nadir, has been struck off as a solicitor. The Law Society has confirmed his removal from its roll of solicitors.

Sunday Times

23 Jan

A Fresh Start

Sir David Clementi has also made clear recommendations about consumer complaints. I think the transfer of consumer complaints to a body independent of the Law Society will be a good thing. The Law Society – simply because it is also the professional body for solicitors – is not well placed to deliver maximum public confidence in that role. Only a new body, run independently of the Society, will have that opportunity for a fresh start.

Law Society Gazette

21 Jan

Clementi prompts Law Society to split functions

The Law Society Council today (Thursday 20 January) agreed to establish separate regulation and complaints handling bodies. The move has come after work carried out by a Governance Review Group established especially to examine the regulatory and representative functions of the society. It is in line with recommendations made by Sir David Clementi in his review of the regulatory framework for legal services in December.

The Lawyer

21 Jan

How doctors and lawyers fell for King Con

The astonishing ease with which a bogus doctor conned the legal and medical professions can be revealed today. Barian Baluchi, 43, faces jail for an extraordinary deception.

This is London 21 Jan

Lawyer qualification proposals under fire

Plans to scrap rules that require trainee solicitors to take a law degree or formal vocational training before qualifying have been criticised for threatening to create "a breed of incompetent lawyers".

Financial Times 21 Jan

Legal clerk disappears before tribunal

A SOLICITORS' clerk has been barred from the profession after writing a reference for a relative who had never worked for the firm. David Kirunda, 48, also took a van-load of 325 files from one practice without the permission of the boss and moonlighted for another company.

IC South London

20 Jan

Shipman: 137 more deaths examined

The inquiry into the past of Harold Shipman, the GP who murdered at least 215 patients, announced yesterday that it has investigated a further 137 deaths for which he signed death certificates. It has examined how many - if any - of the deaths that occurred between 1970 and 1974 at Pontefract general infirmary, where Shipman trained, were unlawful killings.

Guardian 20 Jan

SEC says ImClone ex-CEO Waksal to pay $3 mln fine

WASHINGTON, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Former ImClone Systems Inc. (IMCL.O) Chief Executive Sam Waksal has agreed to pay a $3 million fine to settle charges in the insider trading that put his friend, style entrepreneur Martha Stewart, in prison last year, U.S. regulators said on Wednesday

Reuters 20 Jan

Health manager sold human bones

A hospital manager accused of stealing human bones and selling them to clinics has been jailed for 10 months after he admitted obtaining money by deception. Christopher Ibbotson, 48, from Gristhorpe, North Yorkshire, pleaded guilty on Wednesday after originally denying the charges.

BBC 20 Jan

General Electric names 37 firms for UK panel launch

General Electric (GE) has unveiled its first ever legal panel in the UK following an innovative online auction tender that attracted most of the City’s top advisers. Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Slaughter and May were among the biggest firms appointed last week. The 37-firm roster is set to share an estimated annual UK legal spend of £30m, part of the company’s $700m (£376m) global legal budget.

Legal Week

19 Jan

FSA publishes its Financial Risk Outlook

The FSA has today published its Financial Risk Outlook 2005, which details the risks that it sees facing the financial sector and its customers. The Outlook sets out the background against which the FSA sets its priorities for the year, which will be detailed in the Authority's Business Plan to be published next week.

Financial Services Authority

19 Jan

Fears of 'abuse' photos backlash

UK soldiers in Iraq could suffer the consequences as images of troops allegedly abusing Iraqi civilians are beamed around the world, it is feared.

BBC

19 Jan

London's market regulator at bay

Legal & General, one of Britain's largest insurance companies, yesterday lost its appeal against a guilty verdict on mis-selling policies designed to repay mortgage loans. The Financial Services and Markets Tribunal found it had failed to ensure customers understood the risk that the policies might not pay off the loans, or that they were prepared to shoulder that risk. However, the tribunal's findings are no less damaging for the Financial Services Authority, the regulator that fined L&G £1.1m, whose procedures were subject to devastating criticism.

Financial Times

19 Jan

How a fake doctor took £1½m and helped 1,000 people to get asylum

A THOUSAND successful asylum applicants face a review of their cases after the doctor who gave expert evidence at their hearings admitted yesterday that he was really a former taxi driver with no medical qualifications. Barian Baluchi, a career fraudster who used a string of fake qualifications to set himself up as a leading clinician, was behind bars last night after conning more than £1.5 million from the Government, leading charities and patients.

Times Online 18 Jan

SSL chiefs cleared of fraud charges

Fraud charges against the former chief executive and two other directors of Durex condoms manufacturer SSL International have been thrown out of court. Iain Cater and his finance director, Paul Sanders, together with Dieno George, the managing director of SSL in Europe, were the most senior people to face criminal charges over the alleged two-year fraud scandal at SSL.

Guardian 18 Jan

Non-Lawyer Could Be Lord Chancellor under Reforms

MPs and non-lawyers will be eligible to become Lord Chancellor for the first time as part of a shake-up of the legal system, it was announced today. The traditional post is to be stripped of its judicial functions as the Government moves to strengthen the separation of the law from politics.

The Scotsman

17 Jan

GSK to publish database of clinical drug trials

GlaxoSmithKline, the UK pharmaceuticals group, is to make the details and results of all clinical trials of drugs it has launched since 2000 freely available on the internet. (Perhaps the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal will also make all its findings available? UJ)

Financial Times

17 Jan

Watchdog in the dock

The FSA has a lot to lose if L&G wins its appeal over £1m fine for endowment mis-selling

Guardian

17 Jan

Parmalat founder offers apology

The founder and former boss of Parmalat has apologised to investors who lost money as a result of the Italian dairy firm's collapse.

BBC

17 Jan

Legal fight looms over '20 years of regulatory failure at Lloyd's'

Successive British governments failed to supervise and regulate the Lloyd's of London insurance market properly for at least 20 years, according to a probe by the European Commission.

Independent

16 Jan

Row erupts as TV's new political idol accused of being racist

A innovative attempt to revitalise the public's interest in politics, by subjecting would-be MPs to a Pop Idol-style reality TV show, descended into ugly scenes last night after the winner was accused of holding views to the right of the British National Party. Rodney Hylton-Potts, who has served two years in Brixton prison for fraud, should have been spending this weekend celebrating his Friday night victory in ITV's Vote For Me competition. (Mr Hylton-Potts is a struck off solicitor. UJ)

The Observer

Updated 23 Jan

16 Jan

Blow for SFO as case against ex-Durex chief is set to collapse

THE Serious Fraud Office is poised to drop charges in another high-profile prosecution after a four-year investigation. It is close to abandoning the case against Iain Cater, the former chief executive of SSL International, the owner of Durex condoms. The move will be a serious blow for the SFO following the collapse of a series of important cases in recent years.

Times Online 16 Jan

Soldier jailed for 10 years for abusing Iraqis

US SOLDIER Charles Graner, said to be the ringleader of a band of guards at Baghdad’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison, was sentenced to 10 years behind bars last night after being found guilty of abusing Iraqi detainees.

The Scotsman

16 Jan

SEC charges nine with fraud at US Foodservice

Nine people who worked for suppliers to Ahold, the world's fourth largest supermarket group, have been charged by US authorities with collusion in its massive accounting fraud. The people were yesterday accused by prosecutors of conspiring with executives at US Foodservice, Ahold's US distribution subsidiary, to create false accounting records that inflated earnings by more than $800m (€603m).

Financial Times

14 Jan

Hewitt caves in on corruption rules

Patricia Hewitt, the trade secretary, has been forced to retract her decision to water down official rules against company corruption. Yesterday she agreed in the high court to hold a proper public consultation on the anti-bribery rules, after being accused of caving in to lobbyists, including the arms giant BAE Systems.

Guardian 14 Jan

Solicitor admits theft from law firm

A SOUTH Wales solicitor has admitted stealing more than £110,000 from his law firm. Nicholas Pounder, 46, admitted 16 offences of theft and two of false accounting at Swansea crown court yesterday. (12 Jan)

IC Wales

14 Jan

Pensioners arrested over lawyer joke

Two pensioners were arrested outside a New York court for telling jokes about lawyers. The men were telling jokes while queuing to get into the First District Court in Hempstead, reports Newsday. "How do you tell when a lawyer is lying?" Harvey Kash, 69, said to Carl Lanzisera, 65. "His lips are moving," they said in unison.

Ananova 14 Jan

Scots split over legal reforms

A GROWING split is emerging in the Scottish legal profession over whether the Law Society of Scotland should retain its regulatory role in the wake of sweeping reforms being proposed for England and Wales.

The Scotsman

13 Jan

ID theft mastermind gets 14 years

A Briton involved in what is believed to be the largest identity theft case ever has been sentenced to 14 years in prison by a New York judge. Philip Cummings, 35, used his job as a computer helpdesk employee to steal personal information from more than 30,000 unwitting customers.

BBC

12 Jan

Specialist Lawyers to Help Bring 'Mr Bigs' to Justice

Plans for a dedicated cadre of criminal prosecutors to put gangster bosses behind bars were unveiled by the Attorney General today. The specialist lawyers will work alongside the new Serious and Organised Crime Agency (Soca) to put organised criminals “out of circulation”, Lord Goldsmith said.

The Scotsman

12 Jan

Falconer angers top judges

The lord chancellor, Lord Falconer, is to appoint a close friend and his former pupilmaster - responsible for trainee barristers - to one of the top four jobs in the judicial hierarchy, against the wishes of the four top judges. The appointment of Sir Mark Potter to replace Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss as president of the high court's family division, will be announced by the government today.

Guardian

12 Jan

'No payout' for cot death mother

A mother who was wrongly jailed for the murder of two of her children will get no compensation.
Angela Cannings spent 18 months in jail, but her conviction was quashed in December 2003 when key medical evidence against her was discredited.

BBC

11 Jan

Barrister disbarred for juggling murder cases

A barrister has been disbarred for trying to represent two alleged killers in separate trials at the same time, in crown courts 130 miles apart. To compound the strain on Colin William Campbell, his personal life was "in turmoil", his defence counsel later told a Bar disciplinary tribunal.

Guardian

10 Jan

Enron bosses agree $168m payout

Eighteen former Enron directors have agreed a $168m (£9.85m) settlement deal in a shareholder lawsuit over the collapse of the energy firm. Leading plaintiff, the University of California, announced the news, adding that 10 of the former directors will pay $13m from their own pockets.

BBC

10 Jan

OFT issues loan scam warning

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is warning people to be vigilant after a Canadian loan scam arrived in the UK. Some people have already been stung after responding to newspaper adverts offering fast loans regardless of credit history. (Do not pay "up front" arrangement fees for loans. UJ)

BBC

08 Jan

FSA chief jumps ship for top City banking job

Andrew Procter, one of the Financial Services Authority's top investigators, has been lured away by Deutsche Bank, one of the companies he is responsible for regulating.

Independent

08 Jan

Taxman Who Stole Nearly £300,000 Jailed

A tax inspector who funded a lavish lifestyle with nearly £300,000 plundered from the public purse was jailed for three-and-a-half years today. Father-of-three Richard Baker, 38, from Longfellow Close, Swindon in Wiltshire, creamed off £293,334.77 of taxpayers’ cash into accounts he created under false identities.

The Scotsman

08 Jan

Skating champion stole £1.3m from Post Office charity fund for lover

A FORMER champion ice skater who embezzled £1.3 million from a Post Office charity fund to build a property empire and buy his gay lover a baronetcy was jailed for four years yesterday. Gary Irvin used his trusted position to siphon off money to fake charities and firms and make payments to non-existent consultancy companies.

The Times

08 Jan

Solicitor jailed for charity fraud

A disgraced solicitor was last night starting a 28-day jail sentence after admitting stealing money destined for charity by defrauding two business groups. Christopher Savage's solicitor said the 44-year-old father of two had suffered from "rogue file syndrome" after taking around £1300 from the Beccles Business Association (BBA) and Beccles Round Table.

Eastern Daily Press

06 Jan

Freedom of Information issues and requests/demands for information will attract a reasonable charge.   01 Jan 2005
     

 

 

 

 

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