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NEWS - May 2005

UnjustIS caches offline the full texts and originating urls of News content.

 

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  To report broken or outdated links please visit the Contacts section.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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2005

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April May June
July August September
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2004

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July August September
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2003

 

 

 

Title and description of item or excerpt.

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Date posted on UnjustIS

 

 

 

Law Soc investigation prompts Olswang's Julian Holy takeover

Olswang has swooped on the £5m practice of property legend Julian Holy just one month after he was struck off by the Law Society. The disciplinary tribunal has stayed the strikeout order until Holy has the chance to appeal. Holy is 55 and retiring, but he has bequeathed his nine-lawyer practice, Julian Holy Solicitors, and its clients to Olswang. The allegations against Holy are breaches of accounting rules, conflict of interest on loan transactions and "other matters". Holy said: "I didn't realise that I shouldn't be acting for both sides on a deal... We'll appeal. Counsel is of the opinion that it is completely disproportionate." (Update May 2006)

The Lawyer

Olswang

31 May

Saddam's defender accused of falsely claiming to be solicitor
Fraud charges are being considered against an Italian lawyer acting for a series of high-profile offenders, including the killer Kenneth Noye, the timeshare conman John Palmer and the multiple murderer Jeremy Bamber. The Crown Prosecution Service is examining the findings of an inquiry by the City of London Police's fraud squad into the millionaire lawyer, Giovanni Di Stefano.

Independent

31 May

Website war on solicitors sets off legal retaliation

THE Irishman behind Corruptlawyers.com, a website set up to expose alleged malpractice and negligence in the Irish legal profession, is himself being sued by lawyers. Sean O’Sullivan, a civil servant, is facing a defamation suit from seven solicitors at Orpen Franks, a prominent Dublin law firm. The action is the latest twist in a feud between the two, stretching back 18 years, over the unsuccessful sale of a house.

Sunday Times - Ireland

29 may

Law Society will keep place as top legal body, vows chief

The chief executive of the Law Society has vowed that it will remain the main representative body for solicitors in the UK despite the Clementi Report on the future of the legal system. Speaking before an event in Brindleyplace, Janet Pareskeva said that despite talk favouring a move of its representative function to local bodies, such as Birmingham Law Society, it would continue to represent solicitors on national issues.(The Law Society does not deserve to retain the privilege of regulating itself. Struck off UJ)

IC Birmingham

27 may

Fraud boss jailed for six years

The head of a Nottingham-based financial services company who cheated investors out of more than £2.5m has been jailed for six years. Nottingham Crown Court heard many investors had their retirement dreams ruined. One man, who lost £500,000, was known to be dying of cancer. Steven Higham, 53, managing director of Oaktree Financial Services, pleaded guilty to fraudulent trading.

BBC

27 May

NHS conman jailed

A crooked financier was jailed for four years today after targeting a string of cash-strapped NHS hospitals in a £4.5million fraud. Posing as the high-powered head of a successful £38 million empire, Peter Nicol spent years creating a life of luxury at patients' expense.

This is London

27 May

Ex-lawyer's fraud sentence is cut

A former lawyer sentenced to seven years in jail for frauds worth almost £3m has had his sentence cut after making efforts to pay back money. Gordon Manson, from Edinburgh, had his term cut to five years by the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh.

BBC

27 may

Computer course was a £2m fraud
THREE men who realised that a government scheme to teach people computer skills was a “licence to print money” were jailed yesterday.

The Times

27 may

Lawyers waste millions on ineffective marketing

Law firms are squandering tens of millions of pounds a year on marketing that they do not even believe is effective, research revealed this week.

Law Society Gazette

27 May

Newspaper Calls for Reform of 'No Win, No Fee' Rules

The Daily Mirror called on the House of Lords today to change the rules governing no win, no fee agreements after being sent a £594,000 legal bill by supermodel Naomi Campbell’s lawyers.

The Scotsman

26 May

160 letters that get results, a new Which? book, shows how to complain effectively and obtain redress for most consumer problems.

Which?

26 May

Law Soc urged to use SIF surplus to plug pensions hole

The Law Society is coming under pressure to use the £54.5m surplus in the Solicitors’ Indemnity Fund (SIF) to plug the hole in its own pension fund, it has emerged, with the scheme’s trustees calling for a one-off £70m cash injection. Earlier this month a Law Society paper published a letter by the scheme’s trustees, led by chairman John Hayes, warning Chancery Lane it could face intervention from the new Pensions Regulator if it did not use the SIF surplus to help clear the deficit. (Are there no outstanding claims on the fund, then? UJ)

Legal Week Global

26 May

A paradigm shift

The uncertainty of civil litigation is such that budgeting is almost impossible, while the cost of losing a case can dissuade claimants from even bringing a case. Mark Humphries is proposing a new way to fund civil litigation through recoverable contingency fees combining US and English funding methods

Legal Week

26 may

Lawyer completes 119 day speech

A QC will today complete the longest speech in British legal history when he sits down after 119 days.
Nicholas Stadlen QC, lead counsel for the Bank of England, has been opening his defence in a £850m compensation claim.

Ananova

25 May

Fury over soccer star's legal aid

A £40,000-a-week Premiership footballer has successfully claimed legal aid to defend a spitting charge.
Bolton Wanderers striker, El-Hadji Diouf from Senegal, is accused of spitting at a Middlesbrough fan during a match at the Riverside last November. (Where's my spittoon? UJ)

BBC

25 may

Finance fraudster facing jail over £4.5m scam against 18 hospitals

A CROOKED financier is facing jail over a £4.5m scam to trick hospitals, including two in Yorkshire.
Posing as the high-powered head of a £38m empire, silver-tongued Peter Nicol repeatedly conned health trusts with long words and complex clauses. The 51-year-old fraudster, who in reality operated from a little office in Glasgow, assured them he could arrange bargain leases for vital medical equipment.

Yorkshire Post

Observer

25 may

Couple accused of £2m loans con

A LIVERPOOL businessman and his girlfriend were among five people ccused of running a £2m finance fraud.

Liverpool Echo

25 May

Unemployment of over-50s costs economy up to £31bn a year

The government needs to do more to increase job opportunities for unemployed workers aged over 50 to prevent a loss of skills and experience costing the economy billions of pounds, a parliamentary report says today. The study by the public accounts committee said there were insufficient data to determine whether the government's New Deal 50 Plus programme was working effectively.

Financial Times

24 May

Let's work to make Britain sane

If the state wants to cut the huge numbers on incapacity benefit it must first change our stressful working culture

Observer

23 May

Audit reveals Law Society's complaints-handling chaos

The Law Society's handling of consumer complaints came under renewed fire last week as the Legal Services Complaints Commissioner published the findings of an audit report into the issue.

The Lawyer

23 May

Abused victims to sue

SIX women sexually abused by their GP plan to sue the health trust that employed him. St Helens GP Dr Roy Murray was jailed for six years for indecently assaulting 23 women patients. Now six of his victims have accused the trust of not doing enough to stop him and have consulted a solicitor.

Liverpool Daily Post

23 May

Barristers demand £40m in fees

PLANS by the Lord Chancellor and judges to slash the length and cost of criminal trials have run into the ground over a claim by barristers for £40 million of extra fees.

The Times

23 May

CHARITY BOSS BEATS FRAUD RAP BY A DAY

A £700,000 fraud charge against a charity boss has been thrown out on a technicality. Tony Freeman, 38, was due to stand trial at the High Court in Edinburgh accused of pocketing the cash while he worked for cancer charities. He was also charged with breaching the Proceeds of Crime Act by sending £450,000 to Cyprus. But the case collapsed on Friday after he argued that the Crown missed the deadline to bring him to court by one day. (Updated Sept 2006)

Sunday Mail

22 May

Lawyer in a jam over golly joke

A SENIOR lawyer has been fined and received a strong rebuke after apparently telling a racist joke in public, it emerged last night. Advocate George Wood was speaking at a legal retirement dinner in Falkirk when he made a remark about 'golliwogs'.

The Scotsman

22 May

Barrister Jailed for Child Porn Offences

An ex-police officer who battled brain damage to become a successful barrister was jailed today for child porn offences. John Temple sustained horrific injuries when he was beaten up by a gang of suspected car thieves in 1992. He was discharged from North Yorkshire Police 18 months later and became a barrister in 1998, working at a chambers in Durham...

Around two-thirds of his collection was graded as the least serious level of paedophiliac images, but 382 were classified as level four and five – the two most serious types.

The Scotsman

20 May

City reins in consulting
Amount paid to outside firms plunges 25% in 2004

Capital budget belt-tightening led to a massive reduction in the amount paid out to consultants in 2004, according to a city report. Last year, the city spent just over $62 million in professional service contracts to outside companies, down 25% from the $85 million spent in 2003. (A nod to other Commonwealth issues lest this site becomes too Albion-centric. UJ)

Ottawa Sun

19 May

Law Society votes against splitting itself into two

The Law Society last week rubberstamped plans to separate its regulatory and representative arms from 2008, but shelved proposals for a wholesale break-up of its services.

Legal Week

19 May

Tycoon ‘spent plundered pension fund cash on family’

Article removed by its publisher

The Herald

19 May

Law aims to head off compensation culture

Laws to save business and the public sector millions of pounds defending spurious personal injury claims were pledged by the government, in an attempt to stop Britain developing a US-style compensation culture. But lawyers were quick to insist there was no compensation culture in the UK and urged that the legislation should not restrict the rights of genuine negligence victims to seek redress through the courts.

Financial Times

18 May

New bid to curb greedy lawyers

Ministers today tried to slam the door on the sky-high cost to society of "compensation culture". New laws were promised in the Queen's Speech to stop lawyers encouraging people to sue for everyday mishaps or perceived slights.

This is London

17 May

Solicitor suspended

A SOLICITOR who refused to co-operate with her governing body after a series of blunders was suspended indefinitely on Thursday last week. Brenda Baldwin, 47, was told she was not competent to practice on her own and should get a partner or find a job. But she continued with her firm for two months after the Law Society order came into force and the body had to take over her firm.

Harrow Times

17 may

Perelman wins $604m from banking giant

A Florida jury yesterday awarded billionaire investor Ronald Perelman $604m (£335m) in damages after deciding Morgan Stanley defrauded him during a 1998 deal. The investment bank could end up paying even more as the jury will now decide on the level of punitive damages, which could add another $2.1billion to Morgan Stanley's bill.

Telegraph

17 May

Millionaire doctor struck off after faking deafness to work for Bupa

A millionaire doctor who faked deafness for a year to avoid NHS work and earned £100,000 from seeing private patients has been struck off the medical register. Michael Hodges, 48, funded a luxurious lifestyle by providing health checks for Tesco executives, acting as a GP at a Bupa hospital, seeing patients privately at home and performing medicals for the Ministry of Defence.

Telegraph

17 May

Legal watchdog criticised over two-year delays

A legal watchdog has been criticised for its "unacceptable" service after an investigation revealed that some people had had to wait more than two years for their complaints about solicitors to be resolved.
The government's legal services complaints commissioner looked into a number of cases handled by the Law Society, which oversees 116,000 solicitors in England and Wales. The commissioner, Zahida Manzoor, found delays in investigating or resolving seven out of 10 complaints, with an average wait of six months before the Law Society dealt with grievances.

Guardian

additional reporting:

BBC

17 May

Money laundering ignorance can seriously damage wealth

ROY FLETT
THE FORUM
BECAUSE of the company I run, I speak to solicitors every day, and what I am hearing - or perhaps more accurately not hearing - gives me cause for concern. What I am not hearing is that the profession in Scotland is generally aware of the penalties for money laundering offences. More worrying still, perhaps, is that firms do not appear to be aware of the new anti-money-laundering compliance training they are required to undertake - training that applies to staff and not just solicitors.

The Scotsman

17 May

Legal aid plan 'unfair to black lawyers'

THE Lord Chancellor is facing the threat of a legal challenge over plans to make solicitors enter a low-price bidding war to secure legal aid contracts. Solicitors told the Times-sponsored Minority Lawyers’ Conference in London on Saturday that they believe the plans proposed by the Legal Services Commission are potentially in breach of the Race Relations Act because they fail to recognise the impact on ethnic-minority lawyers

The Times

16 May

The Law Society's regulatory function's spin-off plans get go-ahead

The Law Society council last week voted to completely separate its regulatory and representative functions ahead of the implementation of Sir David Clementi's recommendations for legal reform.

The Lawyer

16 May

Law Society Delays Still A Problem For The Consumer

The Office of the Legal Services Complaints Commissioner published today its findings from an audit into the complaints handling service of the Law Society. The report highlights problems for consumers, which include poor service, delays and the inconsistent application of procedures.

A2Media

16 May

FSA looks to shine some light through the hedges

There is growing pressure to rein in practitioners of this fast growing and opaque sector, says Heather Connon. April was a cruel month for hedge funds. According to statistics from Hennessee Group, the hedge fund consultant, the average loss for the industry was 1.75 per cent, making it the eleventh worst monthly performance in 15 years.

Observer

16 May

Britain counts £100bn cost of stress in the workplace

STRESS at work is causing depression and anxiety in one in five Britons and costing the country £100 billion a year in lost output, the mental health charity Mind said yesterday.

The Times

16 May

City Index warned police about rogue accountant

CITY INDEX, the spread-betting firm, alerted the authorities eight times about the activities of Wing Kit Chu, the accountant who stole £9m from the engineering firm Charter to fund his addiction to gambling.
Chu was jailed for five years in January after pleading guilty to theft. Over a five-year period the accountant stole £9,237,312 from Charter to cover his gambling losses.

The Times

15 May

Law Society council votes on Clementi reforms

The Law Society this week rubberstamped plans to separate its regulatory and representative arms from 2008 but shelved proposals for a wholesale break-up of its services.

Legal Week

14 may

Acting as a law unto themselves?

GEORGE Bernard Shaw observed that all professions are conspiracies against the laity. An extreme view, certainly, but it is true that self-regulation – what Austin Mitchell, the maverick Labour MP, calls "chaps regulating chaps" – is a tarnished concept, ...

The Herald

14 May

Police tackle Companies House database scam

The Metropolitan Police Service has launched a campaign to highlight the growing problem of "company hijacking" – where criminals fraudulently change a company’s official registration details with Companies House in order that they may impersonate it.

The Register

12 May

Postmaster faces jail over £500k fraud

A POSTMASTER faces jail after he admitted using doctored giro books to steal £500,000 meant for pensioners and single mothers. Rikh-Deva Maharaj, 44, of Hertford Road, Islington, cashed thousands of benefit cheques that had been stolen from the post and fraudulently increased in value. He had denied conspiracy to defraud at Southwark Crown Court but later changed his plea to guilty.

Islington Gazette

12 May

Missing solicitor is suspended

A SHEFFIELD solicitor who vanished after taking a spring holiday, abandoning his legal practice, has been suspended indefinitely. Richard Pawsey, aged 44, never returned to work, leaving concerned clients wondering what had happened to him. The Law Society took over his firm to protect customers after Pawsey, of Firth Park Road, Sheffield, repeatedly failed to answer letters from his professional body.

Sheffield Today

12 May

DCA unveils new team as Falconer outlines Parliamentary agenda

The Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) has unveiled its revamped ministerial team as the Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer this week set out the Parliamentary agenda for the UK’s courts ministry.

Legal Week

11 May

Re: trimming criminal trials.

The Bar Council has published an extensive range of documents, letters and reports about this subject, making some available on its web site. Very High Cost Criminal Cases (VHCCC's) have been the subject of a detailed report, which can be downloaded via the page link, right. The page also links to Adobe Acrobat Reader for pdf documents, and Microsoft Word Reader for Word docs.

Bar Council (documents page)

11 May

Cost-cutting Falconer to trim criminal trials

Criminal trials will be cut down to size in an attempt to save money, Lord Falconer, the Lord Chancellor, announced yesterday. By reducing hearings to the essential issues, courts could cut the cost of criminal legal aid, he said. That would leave more money for civil cases involving money disputes and family breakdown, ensuring that publicly-funded help and advice went to those who needed it most.

Telegraph

Guardian

11 May

Lawyers face complaints crackdown (Scotland)

Planned tougher measures for making complaints against lawyers are being outlined by Holyrood ministers. Clients, at present, are urged to settle grievances directly with the lawyer - or with his firm.

BBC

11 May

At breaking point

The Gazette's annual legal aid survey reveals that the future is looking bleaker than ever. However, there are signs of concerted protest, reports Paula Rohan
When legal aid solicitors from across the land were invited to London to protest over competitive tendering in crime work last month, they turned up in droves.

Law Society Gazette

06 May

City firm donates excess client account interest

City law firms are set to put hundreds of thousands of pounds into London’s voluntary legal sector by handing over the interest earned through consolidating client monies on deposit, it emerged this week.
Magic circle firm Allen & Overy is spearheading the scheme, and anticipates contributing £200,000 to the London Legal Support Trust (LSST) over the next three years.

Law Society Gazette

06 May

MEPs deal blow on money laundering

MEPs ditched vital amendments to the third money laundering directive last week, in a setback that could see lawyers exposed to criminal penalties for ‘tipping off’ clients that they may have to make a report to the authorities.

Law Society Gazette

06 May

The cost of FSA blindspot

MISTAKES by regulators gave free rein to a crooked financial adviser to loot more than £2.8m from his wealthy clients, according to documents obtained by Financial Mail. Stephen Higham, 53, pleaded guilty last week to intent to defraud creditors. He was remanded in custody and faces up to seven years' jail when he is sentenced on May 13.

This is Money

06 May

Romanian 'Posed as Solicitor to Con Illegal Immigrants'

A Romanian conned illegal immigrants out of thousands of pounds by posing as a Home Office solicitor and promising to supply them with British passports, a court heard today. Cornel Tirnaveanu, who has never studied at the bar but bought his LLB in criminal law for £400 from a London firm, deceived his victims out of £22,000 by saying he could arrange for them to become British citizens, Canterbury Crown Court was told.

The Scotsman

05 May

Clementi aide to advise on Law Society dual role split

The Law Society has appointed the former secretary to Sir David Clementi’s review of legal services to head up a new working party over-seeing the string of internal reforms faced by the professional body.

Legal Week

05 May

Clydach convictions are quashed

A man serving life for the murders of three generations of the same family has had his convictions from 2002 quashed by the appeal court in Cardiff...Judges said he had not had a fair trial because of a conflict of interest involving one of his legal team.

BBC

03 May

Law firm's payout to 'betrayed' ex-miners

A LAW firm has been forced to pay out over £100,000 to 13 former Yorkshire miners after handling their claims for compensation negligently. Some of the claims against Doncaster solicitors Shaw & Co were prompted by a Yorkshire Post investigation into the Yorkshire Compensation Recovery Service, which referred clients to the firm.

Yorkshire Post

28 Apr

Tough litigation lawyer will be FSA’s chief enforcer

A COMBATIVE litigator known for her uncompromising style was named yesterday as the new chief investigator and prosecutor of City wrongdoers. Margaret Cole, currently the commercial disputes partner in the London office of US law firm White & Case, will join the Financial Services Authority as director of enforcement, the head of a 200-strong team. Ms Cole, 43, is to replace the acting head, David Mayhew, in July. Mr Mayhew stepped in temporarily after Andrew Procter quit suddenly in January for a compliance job at Deutsche Bank.

The Times 28 Apr

 

 

 

 

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