PLUS: Barristers not open all hours
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The Times
Tuesday October 23 2018
The Brief
Frances Gibb Jonathan Ames
By Frances Gibb and Jonathan Ames
Good morning.

Britain’s fourth largest supermarket chain could be forced into a big – but as yet undetermined – payout after a Court of Appeal ruling yesterday. But the Supreme Court round is yet to come in its fight over the UK’s first data breach class action.

The Royal Opera House is also heading for a session before appeal judges as it fights a ruling that the volume of Wagner seriously damaged the ears of a viola player.

In parliament, peers cited concerns over the death penalty as they dealt a blow to the government’s plans to share more criminal investigation data with the US.

And the London-based global chairman of one of the biggest law firms in the world has been forced to stand down owing to exhaustion – see our Churn column for details.

While our special focus assesses whether corporations and their in-house lawyers are falling out of love with law firm panels. All that and more in this morning’s must-read of all things legal, including news, comment and gossip.
SFO accused of favouring blockbuster cases
Fraud trial fees drop by £3,500 under legal aid reforms
Profits fall at UK’s top ten law firms
Blue Bag diary: Criminal barristers not open all hours
Comment: Tribunal is the big winner in Leigh Day case
Tweet us @timeslaw with your views.
Story of the Day
Morrisons takes data breach class action to Supreme Court
Britain’s fourth largest supermarket is to appeal directly to the UK’s highest court in an attempt to avoid paying out “vast” compensation to employees who were victims of a data leak. Morrisons confirmed that it would take the country’s first ever data leak class action to the Supreme Court after three appeal judges backed an earlier ruling that the supermarket chain was liable to thousands of workers for the privacy breach.
Read the full story >
Special focus
Law firms must adapt to survive the panel process
Alternative providers are a big help to general counsel under pressure to innovate while keeping costs down, Linda Tsang writes

Coca-Cola, a global conglomerate that is no stranger to producing infectious marketing slogans, launched its “Taste the Feeling” campaign in 2016. wo years later Clare Wardle, the company’s European general counsel, left 70 law firms tasting the feeling of disappointment as she slashed the fizzy drink giant’s legal panel from 100 law firms to 30.
Read the full story >
News round-up
SFO accused of favouring blockbuster cases
Officials are sideling high-value fraud investigations to focus on the few blockbuster cases brought against household names, City lawyers have claimed. Fraud analysts say that over the past year there has been a considerable drop in attempts by the Serious Fraud Office to freeze assets through restraint orders.
There have been four applications for the orders in the past 12 months compared with eight last year, and lawyers suggest that the fall is linked to a focus on higher-profile investigations “that have a public policy interest, rather than purely a large financial value”.
Read the full story >
Fraud trial fees drop by £3,500 under legal aid reforms
Fees for defending a complicated fraud case were set at less than £1,000 under the government’s current legal aid scheme – about £3,500 less than would have been paid under the previous regime.
The figures emerged yesterday from the Criminal Bar Association as Bar leaders ramped up warnings to ministers that the advocates’ graduated fee scheme was unworkable. Writing in his weekly email message, Chris Henley, QC (pictured), highlighted two cases that the association had been alerted to.

See Blue Bag diary below: Criminal barristers not open all hours
Read the full story >
Profits fall at UK’s top ten law firms
Profit margins shrank over the last year at a third of the UK’s top law firms, figures released yesterday showed despite the vast majority boosting revenue.
Individual partners generally took home more cash than ever – but only because law firms tightened their equity numbers. It is the fourth consecutive year that profits have fallen at the top ten law firms in the country, according to the latest annual report from PwC, the “big four” accountancy practice.
Read the full story >
Peers deal blow to crime investigations with US
Government plans to boost cross border investigations with the US were dealt a blow yesterday when peers voted to prevent electronic data being shared in potential death penalty cases. The House of Lords voted by 208 to 185 to try to prevent electronic data being supplied to the US in a defeat to ministers at report stage of the Crime (Overseas Production Orders) Bill.
Read the full story >
Royal Opera House appeals ear damage ruling
Opera House bosses are to appeal a ruling that a viola player’s hearing was seriously damaged during a performance of Wagner’s Die Walküre in 2012. The musician won a High Court decision earlier this year in a case that lawyers predict will have profound implications for the live music industry if the ruling is upheld by the Court of Appeal.
Read the full story >
In Brief
  • Former IRA man loses legal battle to stop police accessing Boston College tapes – Belfast Telegraph
  • City law firms could offer super-exam prep courses – Legal Cheek
  • Rugby has a legal and moral duty to deal with high tackling, says Brian Moore – The Daily Telegraph
Tribunal is the big winner in Leigh Day case
The SDT has shown its independence and importance in the regulatory framework for solicitors, Iain Miller writes

The one organisation that did well out of the case was the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. The High Court described its decision as “impressively thorough” and the reasoning of its majority was upheld in its entirety.
Read the full story >
Quote mark
Quote of the day
“As a business, a law firm is really a very simple enterprise. Law firm management is a misnomer.”
John Quinn, one of the founding partners of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, the international law firm based in Los Angeles, attempting to cut through all the myths about modern legal business.
Read the full story >
Gay cake case will be a boon for employment lawyers
The ruling in the bakers' favour could lead to workplace arguments over Brexit or Trump making it to the courts, writes Ben Power

The media could not get a large enough slice of the recent gay cake case in the Supreme Court. But while the discussion understandably focused on the issues as they relate to service providers, no one seemed to be thinking about how the decision might translate into the employment sphere.
Read the full story >
Blue Bag
Criminal barristers not open all hours
Barrister tetchiness over pay has led to a spat between senior criminal defence lawyers and the bench.

Chris Henley, QC, the Carmelite Chambers silk who is chairman of the Criminal Bar Association, highlighted in his “Monday message” yesterday to foot soldiers reports of a recent dust-up in court.

A “hard working, successful and experienced member of the bar,” wrote Mr Henley, politely mentioned to a member of the judiciary that “the latest judicial demand would mean working through lunch once again”.

That judge, according to the silk, was not sympathetic. Counsel are expected to work evenings, weekends and lunches, if required, was the firm and explicit message.

“No we are not,” responds Henley. “Judges do not work for free, and whilst we will continue to work hard, no longer can we be expected to work without limit, and with no regard for our wellbeing, or to the other demands on our time.”

The association’s chief added that “some realistic lines need to be drawn”, before pointing out that the judge who made the comment to the barrister, who is “the mother of young children”, was normally a keen proponent of diversity initiatives at the court centre where the incident occurred. That, said Henley, was “disappointing”.

Henley continued: “This kind of bullying - that is what it is - has to stop. Training for judges needs to be improved and appropriate action taken when there is consistent failure.”
Cool lawyer cats
“The Sweeney’s doing 90 ‘cause they’ve got the word to go; to get a gang of villains in a shed up at Heathrow …”

So runs a vaguely law-related lyric from Squeeze’s 1978 single Cool for Cats. And one can only imagine that the brains behind LawCatz were humming the tune as they pitched the idea for a rather curious television programme that launched yesterday.

LawCatz – which goes out to a grateful nation on Sky Showcase and on its own website – is in something of a test phase until having a weekly slot from January.

Its mission, say the developers, “is all about making the law easy to understand. Everything we will try to do will be shown, read and spoken in clear simple English”.

Faced with that daunting task in the first episode was PJ Kirby, QC, the joint head of Hardwicke Chambers in London, who is listed as a regular panel member on the programme. Also on board was Tina Morgan, a former practising barrister, who now runs a legal services consultancy, and Katie Khakpour-Smith, a former associate at the law firm Shoosmiths, who now works with a property business.
The Churn
Baker McKenzie chief stands down owing to ‘exhaustion’
Baker McKenzie’s senior management suffered another blow yesterday when it emerged that the firm’s London-based global chairman was taking a leave of absence owing to “exhaustion”.

Paul Rawlinson – a partner based in London who was promoted to the top role in 2016 – announced that he “will be stepping back from his day-to-day responsibilities and taking temporary leave to focus on a personal medical issue”.

The surprise move comes a week after the firm published a summary of the findings of an internal investigation into how its London office dealt with claims that a senior partner alleged sexually assaulted a junior lawyer several years ago.

A report commissioned from Simmons & Simmons, another City law firm, found that there were “shortcomings” in Baker McKenzie’s approach to the allegations, which resulted in the female associate receiving a significant financial settlement and signing a controversial non-disclosure agreement.

The unnamed partner involved left the firm earlier this year, according to the practice.

In a statement yesterday, Baker McKenzie said that “based on the advice of his doctor, in response to medical issues caused by exhaustion, Paul has decided to take a step back from firm leadership and client responsibilities to make his health and recovery his immediate priority”.

Jaime Trujillo, a mergers and acquisitions partner based in the firm’s Bogota office, has been appointed as acting chairman as a result of Mr Rawlinson’s move.
Closing Statement
Judicial intervention in the ring
Offhand, I can’t think of an English civil case where a judge, disagreeing with a jury’s verdict, announced it would be overturned from the bench (writes James Morton).

But this seems to be happening in the US where in the Monsanto case the jury is trying to dissuade the trial judge from overturning their verdict awarding $279 million to a groundsman who used the company’s weed killer and is now suffering from terminal cancer.

The nearest that comes close is Mr Justice McCardie pursing his lips in the case of the boxer Gunner Moir, who once fought for the heavyweight championship of the world. In 1922, Moir was sued for slander by lamp maker William Nelson, with whom Moir’s son James had gone to live. In return, Moir claimed that Nelson had enticed his son away from him.

It was a case full of allegations of wife beating and homosexuality. Nelson and James, who shared a bed but denied impropriety, appeared in court identically dressed.

Mr Justice McCardie first offered the three women jurors the opportunity of withdrawing, but they stood their ground. Moir made impassioned pleas for the boy to return home but the jury would have none of his protestations and awarded Nelson £500.

The judge pointedly said he would not say whether he agreed with the verdict but added that he would not grant an injunction against Moir forbidding him from repeating his claims.

James Morton is a former criminal law solicitor and now author
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