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The Times
Wednesday June 27 2018
The Brief
Frances Gibb Jonathan Ames
By Frances Gibb and Jonathan Ames
Good morning.

Boris Johnson may have missed the vote, but there’s no escaping the litigation. Lawyers are already understood to be circling over the Heathrow expansion plans, with some predicting that it will be at least four years before ground is broken on the third running development — if it ever is.

There is also unfinished business swirling around Brexit, as lawyers claim that royal assent for the EU Withdrawal Act is just the beginning of the fun. See our Blue Bag diary for details.

And later today the Supreme Court will rule on civil partnerships for same-sex couples. Frankly , it's enough to make you fancy a holiday in Kabul ... And if you are heading off, don’t forget to keep tuned into this morning’s must-read of all things legal, including news, comment and gossip.
Today
TRANS-WOMAN WINS PENSIONS RULING
Knights float hits market value of £103m
Son of Windrush immigrant sues Home Office
England fans banned over antisemitic song at World Cup
Blue Bag diary: ‘Love contracts’ mean no more falling over for Ally McBeal
The Churn: Texas poaching in City undergrowth
Analysis: Brexit has shown Tories to be the anti-human rights party
Tweet us @timeslaw with your views.
 
Story of the Day
Married transgender woman should have received pension at 60
British officials discriminated against a transgender woman who was refused the female state pension because she wished to remain married “in the sight of God”, the European Court of Justice has ruled. The ruling comes after a UK Supreme Court hearing in July 2016 in a case brought by MB, then 68, who had transitioned from male to female but chose as a Christian to stay married. That decision blocked her entitlement to a state pension when she reached 60.
Read the full story >
Comment
Brexit has shown Tories to be the anti-human rights party
MPs have voted to scrap vital EU safeguards at a time when Britons could need them the most, writes Jonathan Cooper

What happened to the EU Withdrawal Bill? One minute all the different sides in the Brexit debate were lined up to do battle and then we blinked and it was all over.
The Bill had passed through parliament. All that extraordinary work undertaken by the Lords to ensure that the post-Brexit arrangements will have as many safeguards as possible, including granting parliament a meaningful vote on the final Brexit deal, in the end came to little.

See Blue Bag diary below
Read the full story >
News round-up
Knights floatation hits market value of £103m
A law firm that was part owned by the private equity guru James Caan floated on the London Stock Exchange yesterday and logged up the biggest market capitalisation so far for a legal services business. Knights, a national practice with no London office, set an offer price of 145p a share, which resulted in a market capitalisation of £103.5 million. The deal is likely to make three of the firm’s partners immediate millionaires.
Read the full story >
Son of Windrush immigrant sues Home Office
A man born in Britain is suing the Home Office in what lawyers say is the first legal action on behalf of Windrush victims. The man, 29, who wishes to be known only as Jay and lives in London, was declared stateless by officials even though his mother, who came from Jamaica in the 1960s, was regarded as a British citizen.
Read the full story >
Legal hurdles means Heathrow expansion 'years away'
Ministers should not breathe too deep a sigh of relief at their Commons victory on Heathrow expansion, after lawyers forecast many legal challenges to the plans.
Observers predicted that so many legal hurdles lay in wait that it would be at least four years before the ground was broken on building works for the controversial third runway.
Read the full story >
England fans banned over antisemitic song at World Cup
Two England supporters have been given three-year banning orders after a video appearing to show fans singing an antisemitic song at the World Cup was posted online. A district judge described the actions of David Batty (pictured) and Michael Burns in a bar in Volgograd as disgraceful.
Read the full story >
Supreme Court to rule on civil partnerships for same-sex couples
A heterosexual couple will hear today if they have won their landmark legal battle in the UK’s highest court to be allowed to enter a civil partnership. Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan (pictured) first took the government to court in 2014 over the ban on civil partnerships between couples of different sexes. Their campaign has support from MPs from all parties and more than 131,000 people have signed a petition.
Read the full story >
In Brief
  • Sanctions force Akin Gump to step down in $1bn oligarch case – The Lawyer
  • Solicitor used £500,000 from client account to fund gambling addiction – Legal Futures
  • Trump calls Supreme Court travel ban ruling 'a moment of profound vindication' – Reuters
Comment
City watchdog is chasing the wrong prey
A recent Libor case involving a former Libor trader highlights an inconsistent approach by the Financial Conduct Authority, writes Charles Kuhn

Banning a burger chain owner from the financial markets while letting one of the most senior banking executives go reasonably unscathed for attempting to unmask a whistleblower is an unusual approach for the regulator.
Read the full story >
Twitter
Tweet of the day
@julialarwood No tights in the summer. Judges can’t see your legs, and your opponents shouldn’t be lookin’ 👀
@EmiliePottle
Times Law
The Brief's next stage
After three successful years, The ​Times is delighted to announce the next stage of The Brief.

From Saturday, June 30, it moves onto the main Times website, so that all the articles you now enjoy will be hosted there on a permanent law page, alongside the features that appear each week on The Times' law pages. The Brief will therefore become an integral part of The Times and of its law coverage, rather than an optional extra.

This will mean that ​if you are not already a subscriber to The Times and The Sunday Times, you will need to sign up to continue enjoying the daily bulletin, as well as the articles hosted on The Times' law section.

To say thank you for your continued interest in The Times and The Sunday Times, we're giving you the chance to enjoy unlimited access for just £3 for three months. To learn more about our subscription packages please click here.
Read the full story >
Blue Bag
Withdrawal bill was just the first act
Anyone misguided enough to think that the high drama of Brexit peaked with the passage of the EU Withdrawal Bill, which received royal assent yesterday, should queue up outside the office of Lucy Fergusson for a sharp telling off.

Fergusson is a partner at Linklaters, the City “magic circle” law firm, and she has got news for anyone rash enough to assume that the recent shenanigans involving the prime minister, Conservative Party whips, and Dominic Grieve, QC, the former attorney-general and arch Europhile, drew a line under the argument.

“The withdrawal act is only the end of the first stage of legal preparations for Brexit — there is a huge amount of work still to do,” Fergusson said, adopting a headmistress tone.

The Links partner said that the legislation did not cater for the Brexit transition period, “so in that sense it is preparation for the crash out scenario with no deal. Another act will be needed to implement the transition period.

“The act gives ministers powers to start adapting the UK’s laws to life outside the EU... Thousands of UK laws and EU regulations will need to change to ensure continuity for UK businesses for matters that are within the UK’s control”.

All of which means that masses of legislation will be tabled over the next few months if the UK has any hope of meeting the deadline for B-Day on March 29 next year, Fergusson said.

“There has been very little guidance from government so far about how it is going to go about the amendment task — it is not just a mechanical job, but one that involves real policy decisions about what changes are appropriate,” the lawyer added.

Then Fergusson got to the crux of the matter: “Lawyers will have to scour the detailed changes, looking out for surprises, omissions or errors.” Is that the sound of the rustling of fee notes?
'Love contracts' mean no more falling over for Ally McBeal
Remember Ally McBeal? Two decades ago it was flirt, flirt, flirt round the offices of Cage & Fish, the Boston law firm at the heart of the American legal drama.

Fast forward 20 years and there won’t be a firm on this side of the Atlantic where lawyers are allowed to discuss the weather, let alone consider having an after-work cocktail. And as far as full-blown blood, sweat and tears affairs are concerned, forget it. Immediate P45s all round.

Last month Linklaters, the City “magic circle” firm led the way in the kill-joy stakes by imposing a US-style “love contract” on its worker bees. Its provisions do not explicitly ban lawyers from having intra-firm nookie but they insist that any Links couple feeling a bit frisky must report their intentions to senior management before doing the deed, which effectively amounts to a large bucket of cold water.

Herbert Smith Freehills, the Anglo-Australian wannabe magic circle player, followed suit, and now it is understood that at least four others in the City are drafting love contracts. According to the website Legal Week, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, Dentons, CMS and Irwin Mitchell have got their Big Brother hats on.
There will be lots of talk of “safe spaces”, “support mechanisms” and — arguably the most irritating of modern jargon phrases — “calling out”.

One wonders what Ally would have made of it. Doubtless her endearing trait of falling A over T the moment she clocked anyone she fancied in the office would today land her straight before the managing partner and human resources for “attitude correction” training.
The Churn
Texas poaching in City undergrowth
It’s quiet out there in the world of commercial law firm “lateral-hires” and partnership promotions. Perhaps it is something to do with the early summer heat wave, with Square Mile legal profession poachers lying low in the shade.

But there is always some activity, even if it can only be detected in the undergrowth. The London office of Haynes and Boone, which is based in Dallas, has lured Melanie Willems and Markus Esly to its partnership.

Willems, an international arbitration specialist, and Esly, who also specialises in public international law, both join from the London office of the fellow Texas firm Hunton Andrews Kurth.
Closing Statement
Beware helpful Court of Appeal judges
The tweet of the day in yesterday’s Brief about being frightened by the Court of Appeal reminds me of a story that Lord Birkett used to tell.

The barrister, who became a silk and Court of Appeal judge, was as a junior left to keep a case going in the court until his leader returned the next morning. He seemed to be helped by one of the kindly judges in a dialogue that went something like this (the cases are invented).

“Mr Birkett, you are asking us to follow the ruling in Doncaster Milk Cart Co v Remain.”

“Yes, my Lord.”

“And if we follow that decision we should then follow the Chelsea Ambulance Co v Firewatchers?”

“Yes, my Lord.”

“And if we follow the Chelsea case then we must apply Brudenel v The Icebox Co.”

“Yes, my Lord.”

Progress was being made, it seemed to the young advocate.

“And if we follow the decision in the Brudenel case we are bound to follow the decision in Soho Rangers v Baker, Fraser and Mancini,” the judge continued helpfully.

“Yes, my Lord.”

“And therefore our decision must be in your client’s favour …?”

Glorious triumph seemed only a breath away, before the judge added: “Well, Mr Birkett … you would be wrong.”

James Morton is a former criminal law solicitor and now author
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