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From July 2004  NEWS will feature monthly.


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  To report broken or outdated links please visit the Contacts section.

Use Ctrl+F to search this page - or use the Site Search facility to search all UnjustIS content.


A comprehensive, rich source of UK legal news: LegalDay

Parent directory (easy to browse): LegalDay parent directory

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

For crucial and breaking news about UnjustIS matters go to Essentials

For current and unusual news stories, visit Ananova




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 July 2004




Title and description of item or excerpt.

Links - the full story

Date posted on UnjustIS

Lawyers attack independent regulation plan

SCOTLAND’S advocates have condemned plans to set up an independent body to regulate the legal profession. The government is looking at stripping the Law Society of its power to investigate lawyers amid growing concerns about the way it handles complaints. "Many lawyers just do what they like and get away with it - it’s a scandal."

The Scotsman 01 Aug

£1.2m fraud of Black Rod's son

His father was Sir Frank Twiss, a war hero who survived a Japanese PoW camp and went on to become Admiral of the Fleet and the House of Lords’ Black Rod. With his public-school education, connections and charm,Roddam Twiss could have aspired to emulate his father’s achievements. But today he sits in Belmarsh prison, awaiting sentencing for a £1.2million fraud.

This is London 30 Jul

OFT takes over presidency of International Consumer Network

The UK is to take over the presidency of the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) from 1 August 2004. This will be led by Christine Wade, OFT Director for Consumer Regulation Enforcement.

Office of Fair Trading 30 Jul

Bank wins landmark appeal over legal privilege

The Bank of England has won a landmark appeal over legal privilege, assuaging fears that lawyers could be required to disclose more details of their communications with clients.

Financial Times 30 Jul

Double investigations victory for MEN

The Manchester Evening News has scooped a double victory after two of its investigations resulted in two conmen being brought to justice on the same day. The newspaper reported how 45-year-old lawyer Liaqat Malik had been struck off...

Hold the Front Page 30 Jul

Freshfields chief takes senior BBC role

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer senior partner Anthony Salz has been appointed as the vice chairman of the BBC for a four-year term starting on 1 August.

Legal Week 29 Jul

Britain's top fraud fighter (?)
RUNNING Britain's Serious Fraud Office must at times seem like a no-win task. The investigator-cum-prosecutor is subjected to constant jibes for its lack of speed and success, which has earned it the unfortunate nickname of the Serious Farce Office. In America, those convicted of financial crime, even iconic figures such as lifestyle guru Martha Stewart, are marched off in chains. British financial wrongdoers are more likely to be found luxuriating on a sunny foreign beach.

This is London 29 Jul

Fat-cat lawyers in dock for soaring costs of legal aid

Barristers and solicitors working on just six criminal trials cost the taxpayer a quarter of the legal aid budget for the Crown Court last year, a committee of MPs reported yesterday.

Independent 28 Jul

Pay barristers peanuts and you'll get shysters

The heart hardly bleeds for criminal barristers on £80,000 a year, but you may think differently if you're on the wrong side of the dock and find yourself represented, not by a George Carman, but by a second-rate shyster.

Telegraph 28 Jul

You the jury - and judge

What was it about John Dyson that inspired his fellow jurors to chose him as their foreman at a London crown court earlier this month? Was it his clean-cut image? Or was it his natural air of authority?

Guardian 28 Jul

Fraud trial dropped after blunder

An ex-banker charged with conspiracy to defraud walked free after a judge threw out a major Serious Fraud Office case because of a prosecution blunder.... This led to formal not guilty verdicts in favour of financial consultant Imdab Ullah, 35, of, St Johns Wood, London, and solicitors Michael Wilson-Smith, 59, of Haywards Heath, West Sussex; Peter Barnett, 48, of Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, and Minesh Ruperalia, 38, of Leicester...As a result the £2 million cost of the SFO case, as well as an estimated combined defence of “at least” £10 million, will have to be met out of public coffers.


The Scotsman

27 Jul

MPs warn on legal-aid means tests

Government plans to reintroduce legal-aid means tests for defendants facing criminal trials create a "substantial risk" of added delays in the criminal justice system and could provoke costly human rights challenges from those who are denied aid, a committee of MPs will warn today.

Guardian 27 Jul

Suspected fraudsters move into mobile phone sales

Two of Britain's biggest suspected fraudsters, ordered by the courts to repay duped creditors $300m (£164m), have reinvented themselves as mobile phone salesmen negotiating deals to market and supply thousands of phones to UK users on behalf of Hutchison 3G, T-Mobile and O2.

Guardian 26 Jul

Auditors put on fraud alert

Auditors have been put on a heightened state of alert for fraudulent accounting as companies prepare to switch from national to international financial reporting rules. Auditors have been told to take robust stances with clients, and be prepared to increase the number of accounts they refuse to sign off as accurate.

Financial Times 26 Jul

Half-yearly fraud figures soar

Fraud is soaring in Scotland with figures for the first six months of this year already topping the total for 2003, according to a new survey. The value of fraud reported up to the end of June was £8.51m - compared with the total of £7.21m reported in the whole of 2003.

BBC 26 Jul

Middle-class professionals are Britain's hidden poor

The plight of Britain's hidden poor - middle class professionals who have slipped down the social scale - is highlighted in a report published today. It shows that 3.8 million people, 14% of the country's professional classes, are living on incomes below the poverty line.

Guardian 26 Jul

Fraud robs bereaved of £150m (The Times - subscription service)

Beneficiaries are being swindled out of millions of pounds by trusted advisers. David Budworth investigates the rise in probate crime. DISHONEST solicitors and legal advisers are plundering the wills of elderly people and swindling the rightful beneficiaries. The Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB), which has been a victim of probate fraud, estimates that it costs £150m a year.

Times Online

Further reading - TACT

Further reading - Guardian

25 Jul

Legal aid: £6m boost but MPs fear crisis

The civil legal aid system is on the rocks because solicitors are being unfairly ‘punished’ by draconian audits and low rates of pay, the parliamentary constitutional affairs select committee warned last week.

Law Society Gazette 23 Jul

Warning on civil legal aid restriction

Plans to restrict civil legal aid could block access to justice for victims of clinical negligence or police mistreatment, the Law Society warned yesterday.

Financial Times 23 Jul

Net can be profitable - for the lawyers

IN the old days, when the internet was just crawling off the drawing board, I was told in no uncertain terms by a newspaper firm's MD that nobody would ever make money publishing online.

IC Wales 21 Jul

When does a quick sale become a crime?

If you have just sold a house and not been asked for a passport and other identification, then your agent was breaking the law.

Independent 21 Jul

Ex-Versailles man must pay £14.2m

Fred Clough, the former finance director of the collapsed Versailles trade finance group, has been ordered to pay £14.2m by way of confiscation, following his admissions of fraud at the Versailles businesses and at a company called Normandy Ltd. The order was made at Southwark crown court yesterday,

Financial Times

21 Jul

New head to transform Law Society The Lawyer 20 Jul

Law Soc says yes to conflict rules

Under a refined definition of what constitutes a conflict of interest, solicitors and firms will be prevented from acting where duties to the best interests of clients conflict, or where “there is a significant risk that those duties may conflict”. (Check out Royal Charter, while you're browsing. UJ)

The Lawyer 19 Jul

Revenue tightens rules on stamp duty

Thousands of homebuyers who fail to correctly file their stamp duty returns on time face an Inland Revenue clampdown from today.

Telegraph 19 Jul

Work till you're 70, says CBI

The Confederation of British Industry will today call for a £20 a week increase in the basic state pension paid for by a rise in the retirement age to 70 years old for men and women.(So whom, precisely, should we trust with our pensions and savings in this fraud-blighted country? UJ)

Guardian 19 Jul

SFO loses half its cases

The Serious Fraud Office has suffered one of its worst-performing years on record, securing convictions against only half of suspected fraudsters brought to court and tried, according to its annual report published today.

Guardian 19 Jul

Lose the savings habit and beware a pensions disaster

...Apologists for the FSA thus argue that the need for a powerful regulatory authority has never been greater. Public confidence has been undermined by a series of industry failures - pension mis-selling, the Equitable Life disaster, endowment policy shortfalls and then the split capital trust debacle in which fund managers, trading on their sophistication and professionalism, developed a product that proceeded to lose £900 million of investors’ money.

The Scotsman 19 Jul

Penny-Stock Lawyer Nears Day of Reckoning

There have been so many big-time white-collar-crime trials going on at the federal courthouse in Manhattan this summer that nobody has paid much attention to the case of Washington lawyer Thomas T. Prousalis Jr.

Washington Post 19 Jul

SEC Says No Comment to Investigation of Berlin Exchange, Says Reuters

"Every time a government has tried to crack down on this type of thing in one location, it tends to migrate offshore where it's obviously much harder to regulate," Reuters quoted Lynn Stout, a professor of securities regulation at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Investor's Business Daily 19 Jul

Blair's crackdown on thugs marks end of liberal consensus

"People do not want to return to old prejudices and to ugly discrimination. But they do want rules . . . proper behaviour . . . where those who play by the rules are those who don't get punished," he is expected to say.

Financial Times 19 Jul

Bank starts defence against £850m claim in BCCI affair

The Bank of England will today start to outline its defence against the ground-breaking £850m "misfeasance" claim, which has put the central monetary authority in the dock for the first time in its 300-year history.

Financial Times 19 Jul

SEC Hedge Fund Proposal Doesn't Go Far Enough

To more effectively police the burgeoning $850 billion industry -- which is projected to manage $2 trillion within three years -- the undermanned SEC will need to join forces with states and require transparent return reporting standards. Such regulatory teamwork may even provide more protection against fraud for investors.


19 Jul

FSA to trim investigation times

FSA chairman Callum McCarthy said that "the critical thing about enforcement is speed", adding that "justice delayed is justice denied".


18 Jul

Phishers face more jail time

US President Bush this week signed into law a bill that stiffens criminal penalties for identity thieves, including those who purloin information electronically using phishing attacks.

IT News Australia

16 Jul

Support for renewed ban on referral fees gathers momentum

Solicitors at the Law Society AGM this afternoon voted against the Council in favour of a motion proposing a renewed ban on referral fees.

The Lawyer

16 Jul

Vulnerable people excluded from legal aid, MPs warn

The rocketing costs of legal aid for criminal and asylum cases are threatening the survival of the civil aid scheme which helps the poor and vulnerable with debt, housing, family and other legal problems, a committee of MPs said yesterday.


16 Jul

Carreker signs two UK banks to fraud detection technology

15 July 2004 - Carreker Corporation (Nasdaq: CANI), a leading provider of technology and consulting solutions for the financial industry, today announced that two of the leading banks in the UK and Ireland have licensed Carreker's fraud detection solutions, FraudLink On-Us(TM) and FraudLink PC(TM). (Why are solicitors so slow to embrace this technology? UJ)

Finextra 15 Jul

Credit rating service goes online

An internet service has been launched to let people check their credit rating. For a £11.75 fee the encrypted service from Equifax, one of the UK's two major credit reference agencies, will outline an individual's credit history.

BBC 15 Jul

Gov.uk launches anti-fraud website

The government has announced a new online "one-stop shop" to help prevent ID fraud.

The Register


15 Jul

Criminals cash in on personal details

An industry based on personal information obtained by deception and bribery has sprung up, the data protection watchdog has warned. Investigators directed by the information commissioner have found "particular problems" with "blagging" in police forces, the Inland Revenue, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

Financial Times 15 Jul

Judges and MPs escape pensions tax

Ministers are set to allow senior civil servants, judges and MPs to escape new pension rules which could save highly paid public officials thousands of pounds in tax surcharges.

Guardian 15 Jul

Law Society clears conflict rule reforms

The Law Society’s decision-making council has approved changes to the conflict of interest rules banning firms from acting on both sides of a deal.

Legal Week 15 Jul

Convicted porn judge to keeps his pension

LONDON - A Crown court judge caught by an American investigation into child pornography on the internet escaped a prison sentence yesterday after admitting downloading indecent images of young boys.

New Zealand Herald 15 Jul

Management- Professional Indemnity: Lifting the burden

With the risk management differential between various elements of the legal services sector wider than ever, is now the time for the debate on the minimum terms and conditions of solicitors’ PI cover to begin in earnest? Dave Coughlan reports

Legal Week 15 Jul

A step forward

City firms are coming under increasing attack for failing to encourage lawyers from ethnic minority groups — are clients the key to pushing a sea change forward? Mary Mullally reports

Legal Director 15 Jul

Chancery Lane consultants bill rockets 50%

The increase in spending on external consultants comes despite a 33% rise in staffing costs, up from £30.6m in 2002 to £40.8m. The rise includes a 17% increase in staff numbers, primarily to handle an expanded complaints-handling team at the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors.

Legal Week 15 Jul

Financier 'misled City law firm over his contract'

Scottish financier Ken Murray was accused of "trying to mislead" Lovells, the City law firm, over the nature of his contract with his former company Murray Financial Corporation in the High Court yesterday.

Telegraph 14 Jul

E-mails evolve into hard evidence

They might be intended as just a bit of fun but employers are unlikely to see the joke when bad taste e-mails sent by members of staff lead to costly payouts.

Financial Times 14 Jul

SEC Seeks to Clamp Oversight on Hedge Funds

Federal regulators are proposing to clamp new oversight on hedge funds, traditionally investment pools for the wealthy that are growing and largely unregulated.

The Ledger 14 Jul

Microsoft issues seven security bulletins

Fixes from Microsoft, read more on The Gazette.


The Gazette

14 Jul 2004

Peers reject bid to axe office of Lord Chancellor.

Long overdue constitutional reforms falter as lords favour retaining centuries-old rituals and traditions.

"...an uncontrollable obsession with obliterating the past". Tory hereditary peers accused ministers of behaving like "Boadicea in her chariot". The costume ball goes on. Solicitors must be terribly confused: "Hang on - if we are already Officers of the Supreme Court, why do we need another one?" Interesting question.


The Times


The Scotsman


14 Jul

Judge spared jail sentence over child porn on computer

A Crown Court judge caught by an American investigation into child pornography on the internet escaped a prison sentence yesterday after admitting downloading indecent images of young boys.
David Selwood, who retired from the bench on grounds of ill-health shortly before he was formally charged, was given a 12-month community rehabilitation sentence and will keep his £33,000-a-year pension. (Updates:Jan 2007)

Independent 14 Jul

Equitable policyholders take mis-selling claim to court

A 700-strong group of Equitable Life policyholders are today due to issue a multimillion pound writ against the insurer, claiming they were victims of mis-selling.

Guardian 14 Jul

Do you need to apply for FSA authorisation by 13 July 2004? A surprising range of businesses do.

Consumer insurance products have become a lucrative source of income for service providers and retailers with customers now able to purchase insurance from supermarkets, travel agents, motor dealers and other High Street retailers.

Mondaq 12 Jul

Europe's anti-fraud office accused of abusing its power

Leaked documents on the arrest of a fraud-busting journalist have intensified fears that the European Union is abusing its growing investigative powers to manipulate evidence and silence criticism.

Telegraph 12 Jul

'Magic circle' performances eclipsed by mid-sized firms

The financial performance of the biggest law firms has been eclipsed by many medium-sized solicitors, according to new results published today.

Financial Times 12 Jul

Corporate lawyers couldwinQCstatus under reform plan

Corporate solicitors could soon be awarded the rank of Queen's Counsel under plans to widen a new "quality mark" scheme beyond courtroom advocates, the outgoing president of the Law Society has indicated.

Financial Times 12 Jul

Midland lawyer in mob probe

A Midland lawyer is at the centre of a major police investigation into organised crime.

IC Birmingham 11 Jul

How law shelters mis-selling solicitors

Homeowners who bought endowment policies from solicitors are being penalised when it comes to claiming compensation for mis-selling, it emerged last week.

The Sunday Herald 11 Jul
Interesting takes on current legal news Roll on Friday 09 Jul

Brighton estate agent banned

Brighton estate agent Allan Langley-Smith has been banned from engaging in estate agency work for life by the OFT.

OFT 08 Jul

Points to Ponder

The Law Society is a Company Incorporated By Royal Charter. In view of its lamentable failure to regulate its members objectively, with whom should the buck stop?

"At least 75% of the corporate members should be qualified to first degree level standard. Finally, both in the case of charities and professional bodies, incorporation by Charter should be in the public interest."

UnjustIS 08 Jul

Zurich calls for indemnity reforms

Insurance giant Zurich is pressing the Law Society to reform the regime for solicitors’ insurance to limit the protection handed out to law firms buying compulsory cover.

Legal Week 08 Jul

Diversity in legal profession growing, say Law Society

New statistics published this week by the Law Society show that the proportion of practising solicitors from ethnic minorities now matches that of the national population.

The Lawyer 07 Jul

More complaints to The Law Society

The Law Society of Scotland has once again been criticised for inadequacies in its complaints system. In her annual report published today, Scotland's legal watchdog Linda Costelloe Baker highlights her concern that the number of complaints to the Law Society and to the Ombudsman rose by sixty-one percent in the past year. (download TV news item)

Grampian TV 06 Jul

Law Society under fire for complaint failures

The Law Society is facing renewed criticism today over its complaints handling, as a report reveals it has failed to reach five out of six targets set by the Department of Constitutional Affairs.

The Lawyer 06 Jul

Companies gain cheaper legal advice

Companies should benefit from cheaper legal advice from today after barristers ditched the rule that prevented clients from engaging them directly. Since the 19th century, with few exceptions, anyone wishing to employ a barrister had to go through a solicitor, in effect duplicating legal fees. But now clients will be able to instruct barristers directly for specialist advice, legal drafting and courtroom advocacy.

Financial Times 06 Jul

Bar Council triumphs in direct access win

In an historic move barristers can now receive instructions direct from members of the public following a change in the Bar Council’s code of conduct.

The Lawyer 06 Jul

Rap for Society over legal complaints

SCOTLAND'S top legal watchdog today slammed the Law Society for failing to investigate complaints against lawyers.

Evening Times 06 Jul

Law Society could lose power over solicitors as report condemns failures

The Law Society risks losing its powers to regulate solicitors as a report out today reveals it has failed to meet all but one of six government targets for dealing with complaints against the profession. (download the report from the LSO)


Legal Services Ombudsman

06 Jul


A new variant of the "Advance fee" fraud continues to dupe the unwary in the UK

Gloucestershire Echo 04 Jul

There's a self-help book for the scarpering CEOs

"So where would you go if you were a CEO on the lam? It's kind of a relevant question these days with all the cracking down on corporate crime going on in America." Richard Siklos - Telegraph

Telegraph 04 Jul

What's the problem with lawyers?

We all need solicitors at some stage and they don't come cheap. But the level of client dissatisfaction is said to be too high and the system for dealing with complaints is deemed ineffective. Jill Papworth reports on a disturbing survey.


Which? Press Release

03 Jul

Setback for plan to axe post of Lord Chancellor and form supreme court

Government plans for abolishing the historic post of Lord Chancellor and setting up Britain's first supreme court suffered a fresh setback yesterday when ministers and peers failed to reach agreement on the legislation.

Telegraph 03 Jul

Financial adviser who killed elderly client jailed for life

An independent financial adviser who fleeced an elderly client out of almost £300,000, then murdered her after she demanded her money back, was jailed for life yesterday.

Guardian 02 Jul

Judge in parting shot at legal eagles

THE Supreme Court's longest-serving judge, Graham Prior, has marked his retirement with a stinging parting shot at the legal profession, accusing it of "playing games" rather than seeking justice for its clients.

The Advertiser (AUS) 02 Jul

Phillips and Woolf: scrap the High Court

The High Court and county courts could be scrapped to make way for a unified civil court under broad proposals backed by the Master of the Rolls (MR) and the Lord Chief Justice.

Lawgazette 02 Jul

Selection of judges condemned as biased

The selection procedure for appointing senior judges in England and Wales is so biased and outdated there should be an immediate bar on further appointments, according to the first independent audit of the system.

Guardian 02 Jul

More stalemate over law reforms

Attempts to break stalemate between ministers and the House of Lords over plans for sweeping changes to Britain's legal landscape have failed.

BBC 02 Jul

Campbell blasts judicial appointments

Judicial appointments commissioner Sir Colin Campbell has savaged the system for appointing High Court judges, claiming it is so flawed that judicial appointments must be suspended until a new process is put in place.

Legal Week 01 Jul

Lawsuit funders head for Britain

AN AUSTRALIAN investment company, backed by one of the country’s richest men, is to be the first firm in Britain to specialise in funding lawsuits brought by dissatisfied litigants such as shareholders.

TimesOnline 01 Jul

FSA to cut fees after £12m peak in fines

The Financial Services Authority said the fines, which included a £2m penalty on Lloyd's TSB for mis-selling stock market-linked precipice bonds, would go to reducing next year's fees charged to regulated firms.

Telegraph 01 Jul

Revealed: the huge gap between the rich and poor

THE north-south divide is in-creasing, with Glasgow the poorest city in the UK, according to figures published yesterday.

The Herald 01 Jul

MPs call for stiffer hacking penalties

The jail sentence for computer hackers should be raised from six months to two years and the police should be allowed to extradite criminals who hack into British computer systems from overseas, a committee of MPs said yesterday.

Guardian 01 Jul

Court to decide on lawyer's conduct

A BRISBANE law firm principal who allegedly told clients they were "absolute morons" has been charged with professional misconduct and may be struck from the roll. The Queensland Law Society found Michael Vincent Baker, of Baker Johnson Lawyers, should answer five counts of inappropriate charging of clients and two counts of using "crude, insulting and offensive language" towards clients.

The Courier Mail 01 Jul



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