PLUS: Leyton Orient man's big win
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The Times
Thursday June 20 2019
The Brief
Jonathan Ames
By Jonathan Ames
Good morning.

Only a few years ago the term 3D-printed gun would have elicited nothing but quizzical looks. Now someone has been convicted for making one.

Not everyone is knocking out firearms from their printers of course. Some diplomats, for example, spend their time racially abusing their staff, and a Qatari embassy worker has won £200,000 after being called a “black slave”.

Elsewhere, campaigners are calling for pre-sentencing mental health assessments for all those facing prison; Adidas, a German purveyor of footwear, has failed in its bid for a three-stripes trademark; and ministers are planning to crack down on late payments to small businesses.

Check out our Blue Bag diary for the legal struggle between Albania and the former gaffer at Leyton Orient.

All that and more in this morning’s must-read of all things legal, including news, comment and gossip.

Daniel Hayes, a freelance journalist, contributed to today’s bulletin.
Today
FIRST CONVICTION FOR MAKING 3D-PRINTED GUN
Scotland Yard faces court challenge over Brexit inquiry
Comment: Floating on the stock market offers law firms a raft of opportunities
In this morning’s Times Law
Tweet us @timeslaw with your views.
 
Story of the Day
First conviction for making 3D-printed gun
A film student has become the first person to be convicted in a British court of manufacturing deadly 3D-printed guns at home.

Tendai Muswere, 26, admitted manufacturing and possessing two guns on the basis that he had been intending to use the weapons he made as props on his course.
Read the full story >
Best Law Firms 2020
We need your views for The Times Best Law Firms 2020
Last year we asked the legal profession who they rated as the best firms and law professionals in England in a ground-breaking peer to peer survey of the industry. You can read about the results here.

This year's survey will be published later this year and for the first time will include a separate listing for Scotland. If you are a legal professional and would like to give us your views on The Times Best Law Firms 2020 click here to take part in our short survey.
 
Comment
Floating on the stock market offers law firms a raft of opportunities
Ditching the partnership model can unlock capital for investment and boost diversity, writes Matthew Doughty

Shifting from partnership to PLC can be too radical a change in culture for many law firms, but those that are agile and innovative can reap the benefits.
Read the full story >
News round-up
Met faces court challenge over pace of inquiry into Brexit campaign spending
A group of MPs have launched a court challenge over the length of time it has taken Scotland Yard to investigate claims that the Brexit campaign overspent at the 2016 referendum.

The Electoral Commission published findings last year that suggested several pro-Brexit individuals and organisations had broken the law on spending limits. The commission passed its findings on to the Metropolitan Police, along with more than 2,000 documents.
Read the full story >
Qatari embassy worker wins £190k over ‘black slave’ slur
A driver for the Qatari embassy in London who was called a “black slave” by a diplomat has been awarded £190,000 for racial discrimination.

Mahamoud Ahmed was also called a “dog” and a “donkey” during his employment at the embassy between 2006 and 2013.
Read the full story >
Calls for criminals to have mental health assessed before sentencing
Campaigners have called for mental health of all convicted criminals to be assessed before they face sentencing.

The appeal came after research from the probation inspectorate found that pre-sentencing reports on mental health were lacking in the cases of about three quarters of offenders being given short prison sentences.
Read the full story >
Adidas is given the boot in EU trademark row
Adidas has been barred from trademarking its three-stripe design in the European Union after Europe’s second highest court ruled that it was not sufficiently distinctive.

Judges on the General Court found that the German sportswear company had demonstrated that the design was recognised as distinctive in only five of the twenty-eight member states. This meant the trademark “cannot . . . be extrapolated to the entire territory of the EU”.
Read the full story >
Crackdown on late payments to small businesses
Ministers have announced a crackdown on late payments between businesses.

Under proposals released yesterday, larger company boards will be held accountable for their payment practices to small businesses.
Read the full story >
In Brief
  • Debtors win protection in one of PM’s final acts – The Times
  • Freshfields partner fails in bid to dismiss disciplinary hearing –The Lawyer
  • Judge tells cocaine user he ‘should suffer no more than former Lord Chancellor’ – Legal Cheek
Also in today’s Times Law
Comment
Businesses cannot afford to be complacent after #MeToo
Misconduct complaints are an opportunity to improve workplace culture and avoid future issues arising, write Chris Chapman and Chris Fisher

The impact of the #MeToo movement on UK businesses is not only a matter of liability — allegations of sexual misconduct can destroy brands, devastate share prices and disrupt management structures.
Read the full story >
Twitter
Tweet of the day
Just dropped a PC off to #Stratford Magistrates 👨‍⚖️ His first time giving evidence so gave him some sound advice You know, when called in, shake hands with the Defence solicitor and the three magistrates.. That kind of thing 😎😉👀🙈😁
@PCMatt3187
Comment
Gagging orders have no place in sexual harassment claims
The deals do not silence or protect the victims and can make alleged perpetrators look guiltier, writes Vanessa James

The pretext of banning gagging orders in settlement agreements is to prevent employers covering up bona fide sexual harassment claims.

To ban non-disclosure agreements also assumes that all allegations made are true or proved. However, employers often settle disputes because it is cheaper and easier to do so and the facts are far more complex than overt and obvious sexual behaviour. In practice, allegations of discrimination can also be set alongside some alleged negative behaviours from the employee and so it is not possible to easily identity the “victim” in every case.
Read the full story >
Blue Bag
Former Leyton Orient owner scores in dispute with Albania
Dedicated football fans may remember Francesco Becchetti as the owner of Leyton Orient who presided over the east London club’s Stuka-like dive down the leagues.

Mr Becchetti became embroiled in a row with the Albanian government over his tax affairs and had his businesses closed and assets frozen.

The Italian tycoon has snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, however, as the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes awarded him about €110 million (£100 million) in compensation.

An over-the-moon Mr Becchetti said: "Receiving confirmation of having been subject to a persecution from a state is rare, and we are pleased that the words written by the arbitrators vindicate us completely.”
They’re not fired
Who needs Lord Sugar and his irritating “you’re fired” gambit, when the Legal Apprentice Competition is in town …

Una Campbell and Edward Massey, both 17 and from St Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt, Northern Ireland, yesterday took top honours at the inaugural competition, which was organised by Kingsley Napley, the London law firm.

The event was sponsored by Times Law and held at The Times’ offices. Overall, the competition involved 900 teams from 308 schools.
Quote mark
Quote of the day
“In jurisdictions across the globe, female lawyers are experiencing significant barriers to progression and are struggling to reach senior leadership roles in equal numbers to men. As a profession which strives to uphold justice, the legal profession must be at the forefront of the fight for gender equality.”
Christina Blacklaws, the president of the Law Society of England and Wales, which represents solicitors, quoted on the website Legal Futures
Read the full story >
 
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