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The Times
Friday November 24 2017
The Brief
Frances Gibb Jonathan Ames
By Frances Gibb and Jonathan Ames
This morning’s must-read of all things legal, including news, comment and gossip. For more in-depth coverage, read ...
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Law graduates suffer from widest gender pay gap
Celebrity protester to appeal fracking gag ruling
New safeguards to protect vehicle logbook borrowers
City firm cuts deal with third-party litigation funding group
A Scottish castle, a semi-clad maiden and a libel suit
Blue Bag diary: Hale says dons made tits of themselves
The Churn: Former Blair minister to chair Bar regulator
premium Analysis: Law schools should take inspiration from trainee medics
premium Special focus: Law firms take the plunge with stock market flotation
premium Event: Tax crackdown – fairness and avoidance
Tweet us @timeslaw with your views.
Disrupting developments
Law firms take the plunge with stock market flotation
As a third British firm prepares to list on the London Stock Exchange, Steven Scott finds that the path to public ownership can be rocky
Read in full
Story of the Day
Brexit is ‘Christmas come early’ to foreign courts and lawyers
Foreign courts and litigation lawyers view the UK’s vote to leave the EU as “Christmas come early”, a leading City of London litigator has argued.

London’s commercial court needed urgently to reform its rules on disclosure to cut the high cost of litigation at a time when overseas jurisdictions were becoming increasingly competitive, the lawyer added.

The stark message came from Ed Crosse, chairman of the London Solicitors' Litigation Association and a partner at the City law firm Simmons & Simmons.
Crosse reiterated the arguments made in the association’s report released this month, which called for the disclosure rules to be reformed and simplified.

The association proposed the introduction of a “basic disclosure” rule that would involve the provision of key documents necessary to understand the case. In some cases lawyers would have to apply for “extended disclosure”, using five new models to replace the existing menu.

They would range from an order for “no disclosure” in relation to a particular issue, through to the widest disclosure currently available. In all cases, parties would be obliged to disclose known unhelpful documents to the other side.

At the association’s annual dinner last night, Crosse said that the easy part of the review exercise “was identifying what was wrong with the existing approach. The real challenge has been how to how to fix it”.

He added that his working group’s original “modest ambition” was to put part 31 of the civil procedure rules, which cover disclosure, “into a wind tunnel, to see which bits could be stripped away to achieve greater speed and efficiency, but in fact, what we ended up doing was completely rewriting the rule”.
Breakfast panel debate: Tax crackdown – fairness and avoidance
Multinational corporations and their tax affairs make the headlines. Whether they are allegedly using smoke and mirrors to reduce profits or basing operations in exotic offshore havens - the charge is that they are not paying their fair share. Join us at the Times HQ for a panel debate on tax fairness and evasion.
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News round-up
Law graduates suffer from widest gender pay gap
The gender pay gap is widest among recent law graduates, new figures reveal.

Figures from Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), the body that represents human resources professionals, show that 80 per cent of female law graduates earn salaries of less than £30,000 within six months of leaving university, compared with 60 per cent of their male counterparts.

The figures demonstrated generally that law graduates are among the lowest paid of university graduates, although there are professional qualification reasons to explain that low performance.

Two thirds of law graduates enter the employment market in jobs paying less than £20,000 a year, according to the figures. Many of the tens of the thousands of law graduates each year struggle to find employment paying more than the national average within six months of leaving university.

The CIPD figures will further stoke arguments that universities are milking law students, the vast majority of whom have little prospect of landing well-paid employment in the legal profession.

The research also shows that contrary to public perceptions a law degree is not a licence to high earnings, at least on graduation. Law graduates were the lowest earners along with those with languages degrees, with 93 per cent of both groups employed on less than £30,000 a year six months after leaving university.

However, the CIPD research appears not to take account of the fact that those law graduates intending to qualify as lawyers are required to complete another year of postgraduate study before launching themselves on the jobs market. Therefore, almost all law degree graduates are likely to be earning very low if any salary at all within six months of obtaining their first degree.
Celebrity protester to appeal fracking gag ruling
Two environmental campaigners, including the son of the celebrity designer Vivienne Westwood, are to appeal a High Court ruling that they claim will have a “chilling effect” on opposition to fracking.

The court upheld and renewed a pre-emptive injunction granted to Ineos, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of chemical and oil products and the largest owner of shale licences in the UK.

The company is understood to have fracking licences that cover over 1.2 million acres of land across the northwest of England. Its lawyers told the court that it faces “widespread illegal action by hardcore anti-fracking activists, including dangerous direct action and death threats”.

In July the company was granted an unprecedented injunction against protesters. It covered not only the eight sites in England, where Ineos planned or was investigating fracking exploration, but also several unidentified group companies, contractors, subcontractors and other entities in the business’s supply chain.
At the July hearing, the court granted Ineos an injunction preventing “persons unknown” from interfering in the lawful activities undertaken by the company’s staff and contractors.

The environmental activists Joseph Boyd and Joseph Corré (pictured), the lingerie designer and son of Malcolm McLaren and Vivenne Westwood, applied to the court seeking to discharge the injunction.

During a three-day hearing, lawyers for the pair argued that the unprecedented injunction was unlawful and that Ineos had failed to provide evidence justifying its wide coverage. They also told the court that the order was having a substantial impact on the legitimate rights of those people wishing to protest lawfully against fracking across the UK.

But Mr Justice Morgan disagreed in court yesterday, saying that he accepted the company’s argument that the injunction was justified to “protect people on and around [their] sites and supply chain”.

Rosa Curling, a lawyer at the London law firm Leigh Day, which acted for Boyd, said: “This case is about the right to protest, a right which has always been, and must continue to be, a fundamental aspect of peaceful political action in our society. Without the right to protest effectively, the ability of citizens to peacefully challenge injustices will be severely curtailed.”
New safeguards to protect vehicle logbook borrowers
Borrowers who use vehicle logbooks to secure a loan will have better protection under safeguards proposed by the Law Commission today.

Logbooks are a way for borrowers to use their car or van as security for a loan but under current law if payments are missed, borrowers can face swift repossession.

Purchasers of second-hand cars can also unexpectedly find themselves losing the vehicle or having to pay off someone else’s loan. The problems prompted the government to ask the Law Commission, an independent law reform body, to bring forward draft legislation.

Today the commission publishes its final report and draft Good Mortgages Bill, which will replace “bills of sale” and protect people using vehicles as security for a loan or other items such as art and antiquities.

Stephen Lewis, the commissioner in charge of the project, said: “Logbook loans can be a good source of credit provided the right consumer protections are in place. But the Victorian laws that govern them aren’t working for anyone. Borrowers aren’t protected and lenders have extra costs because of 19th century red tape.

“We’ve consulted widely and lenders and consumer groups agree: the bills of sale acts need writing off. Our new Good Mortgages Bill would consign these outdated laws to the scrapheap.”

Bills of sale, where people can use goods they own as security while retaining possession of those goods, have grown from under 3,000 in 2001 to more than 37,000 in 2015. They are mostly used for logbook loans, a high-cost form of credit regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Research shows that they are used to secure amounts typically between £100 and £3,500 for a term of between six months and three years. The vast majority are taken out by borrowers who have difficulty accessing other forms of credit.
City firm cuts deal with third-party litigation funding group
A niche City of London practice has become the latest law firm to cut a bespoke deal with a group of third-party litigation funders.

Memery Crystal, a 27-partner commercial practice, has struck a co-operation deal with Woodsford Litigation Funding, in what was described as the first between a legal practice and a funder dealing with energy and mining claims.

The law firm said that the deal would “enable claimants to fund the costs of various legal disputes which could include disputes with joint venture partners or with governments, both via litigation in the courts or international arbitration”. Jane Marsden, a Memery Crystal partner, was attracted to Woodsford because of its “commercial and flexible approach to funding”.

Woodsford launched its first US office in Philadelphia this summer, opening an outpost in Singapore last month.

See Cartel actions start a party for funders and Litigation funding comes to the defence in Brief Premium
A Scottish castle, a semi-clad maiden and a libel suit
Once upon a time, pictures of a beautiful maiden trapped inside a fairytale castle would inspire an act of heroism by a lovelorn prince (Mike Wade writes).

But when “artistic” images of a model in various states of undress were shot at Craigievar Castle, a 17th century fortress in Aberdeenshire, there was to be no happy ending. Instead, Craigievar, reputed to be the model for Disney’s Cinderella castle, has become the emblem of a thoroughly modern libel case, which began to play out in the High Court yesterday.

Howard Kennedy, the photographer, claims that the castle’s owners, the National Trust for Scotland, defamed him in the aftermath of the shoot, damaging his business with a blunt dismissal of his work.

The trust acted only after it was told about the pictures by Gabriel Forbes-Sempill, daughter of the 19th Lord Sempill, who gave the castle to the trust in 1963. She said: “I am by no means a prude but I don’t believe my parents gave the castle to the nation for this sort of thing.”

Kennedy and his wife Karen took pictures of Rachelle Summers, 25, sitting on a bed or staring alluringly out of window. The photographer then advertised the prints for sale online to buyers all over the world.

It took four years for images of Summers to catch the eye of Forbes-Sempill, but as soon as she registered her outrage the trust went into battle on her behalf. It issued a statement saying that the pictures were unauthorised and denied there was evidence that permission had been granted for a photoshoot. Moreover, the trust said that it “would never sanction photographs of this nature – especially at a location that is regularly visited by families with children”.

Kennedy is adamant that he acted entirely properly and is suing the trust for up to £50,000, claiming that it was untruthful, had damaged his reputation and caused him to lose a substantial amount of business.

He wants the case to be heard by an English judge because, according to his lawyer, his “substantial business reputation in England” had been damaged. In England too, Kennedy would have the potential to win higher damages and use no-win no-fee lawyers, the judge, Sir David Eady, was told.

Sir David reserved judgment on where the case should be heard.
In Brief
  • Animal cruelty needs tougher laws, says Michael Gove – The Times
  • Consumer champion attacks lawyers’ 'cultural resistance' to price transparency – Law Gazette
  • India changes bankruptcy law to close ‘wilful default’ loophole – Financial Times
Law schools should take inspiration from trainee medics
Simulated clients, lay people who test a lawyer’s bedside manner, would be a welcome addition to legal training, writes Nigel Hudson

Use of simulated, or “standardised”, patients has been prevalent in the medical profession for some time. It is hoped that the solicitor regulator’s proposals for a new exam will trigger a greater adoption and development of this form of training. The real beneficiaries will be the public who use legal services.
Read the full story >
Britain is diminished without seat on International Court of Justice
Politicians must wake up to the effects of Britain’s new reputation for isolationism, writes Khawar Qureshi, QC
Read in full
Tweet of the day
Judge passing sentence on bottom groper says she will not be giving him an excessive sentence. 'I am not going to massage it,' she explains.
Blue Bag
Hale says dons made tits of themselves
Britain’s ancient universities take a lot of heat for allegedly promoting elitism and failing to embrace the principles of diversity and multiculturalism.

But for Baroness Hale of Richmond, who recently took office as the first female president of the UK Supreme Court, Cambridge provided at least one useful lifelong lesson. “I met all these men with their sense of entitlement and I felt: I could do that too. I am at least good enough,” she told an event at the Supreme Court on Wednesday evening.

When Lady Hale went up to Cambridge in 1963, where she was one of only a handful of female students reading law, the university had only admitted women for 15 years. She told the audience that the attitude in the first years of Cambridge admitting female students had been to let them take exams but not to graduate.

As result of that insidious policy, many women were given BA (Tit) awards. “Can you imagine,” she told the audience, “all those dons … voting on women being able to start calling themselves BA (Tit).”
One silk keeps living a dog’s life
Update on the English Bar’s best friend to dogs, John Cooper, QC, of 25 Bedford Row chambers in London: he’s talking about dogs again.

This time Cooper has been tweeting about his interview with the magazine Dogs Monthly, having only this month featured in arch publishing rival, Dogs Today.
Cooper is the patron of the group Born Innocent, which campaigns against the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. And there appears to be no canine-orientated publication for which he does not have a few words.

Indeed, there is a very serious picture of the silk, in full bottom horsehair (not so worried about that species, but he has the defence of professional tradition) and adopting a slightly menacing pit-bull-like glare, on the Born Innocent homepage. The site highlights Cooper’s comments last year on the 25th anniversary of the controversial law. “I, as a lawyer, am embarrassed by this piece of legislation.”

The Brief will provide further alerts when interviews with Cooper are published in Dogs Quarterly and The Dogs Annual, presuming they exist …
The Churn
Former Blair minister to chair Bar regulator
A former member of Tony Blair’s government is to become the next figurehead of the barrister profession watchdog.

Baroness Blackstone, who was an education and employment minister between 1997 until 2001 and an arts minister between 2001 and 2003, is to be the new chairwoman of the Bar Standards Board.

The body, which regulates some 15,000 practising barristers in England and Wales, said that Lady Blackstone would succeed Sir Andrew Burns in the top slot from the beginning of next year.

Lady Blackstone is no stranger to quangodom. In addition to her political career, she has been chairwoman of the general advisory council of the BBC, the Institute for Public Policy Research, the Royal Institute of British Architects Trust and the board of Great Ormond Street Hospital. She currently chairs the board of the British Library, the Franco-British Council, the Orbit Group of housing associations and the trustees of the British Lung Foundation.

Commenting on her new role, Lady Blackstone said: “Ensuring that the Bar is a strong and diverse profession offering high quality services and access to justice for the public is vital for our society.”

Insurance lawyers’ group elects first barrister head
The body that lobbies for insurance lawyers has elected a barrister to its top role for the first time.

Stephen Hines, a consultant at the Peterborough law firm Taylor Rose TTKW, is to take over as president of the Forum of Insurance Lawyers (Foil), the organisation announced yesterday. He is the first barrister to lead Foil in its 25-year history,

and takes over from Nigel Teasdale, a partner at the law firm DWF. The new president qualified first as a solicitor, but later transferred to the Bar, being called in 2014 and establishing Citygate Chambers this year. ”As a barrister with an active practice, I hope to bring a fresh perspective to these issues and to leading Foil in the year ahead,” he said.
Closing Statement
Rhythm of the law
The solicitors from whom I first rented rooms in Holborn also rented some out to another solicitor (James Morton writes).

He was an engaging but alcoholic man who in an afternoon could often be seen pushing what used to be called “light ladies” up the stairs to his rooms, which were directly above those of the senior partner.

On one occasion there was a great deal of giggling going on during this manoeuvre and the senior partner came out of his office to remonstrate. It did him no good at all.That evening he confided in me. “Do you know, Morton, for the next half hour there was this rhythmic thumping on the floor. I believe they were making a noise deliberately to annoy me.”

Sometimes I thought him a trifle unworldly.

James Morton is a former criminal law solicitor and now author
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