Archive for June 11th, 2010

Although I always enjoy reading RollonFriday their story on the salaries being paid to The College of Law Chief Executive and others on the College Board does deserve a fair comment and reply on another medium.

Let me just say this – because of my past history founding BPP Law School with BPP Holdings years ago and having been asked by The Magic Circle firms in the early 2000s to do a report on the LPC and providers – I am surprised that the College of Law doesn’t pay them more.

I have no hesitation at all in saying this – that if Nigel Savage and the team that he put together had not gone into the College of Law those 12 or so years ago, I don’t think The College of Law would be the institution it is today – an innovative College which has the courage to try new ideas, admit errors, put them right and do their best for students – it would, quite possibly, have been a basket case.

* Disclosure.

I do podcasts for the College of Law. I am delighted to do so and I’m not even tempted to charge more than the very modest fee they pay to cover my time.  Had it been another institution… I would now  put in a deficit CUTS  busting tender for my next series, if asked to do one!  I won’t!

The podcasts I do for The College of Law – do listen – they are relevant to our profession!


And… another thing… RollonFriday reports…

And RollOnFriday can reveal he gets four times the pay of the chief executive of a certain leading private law school.

Excellent!  All I can say –  if this is true AND IF the certain leading private law school is BPP Law School –  is that Peter Crisp needs to go on a Negotiation course and speak to the Americans who now own BPP. I can’t remember what Peter got when I took him on at BPP when I was CEO (It was not peanuts)  – but if this report refers to Peter  Crisp at BPP… I’m most terribly sorry that Peter wasn’t able to leverage his position to greater effect over the past 15 years given the fantastic fees BPP charges their students.  I would also be very surprised if Carl Lygo, the Principal of The Law School et al, is struggling to get by on a salary less than that paid to the Prime Minister of The United Kingdom.  BPP doesn’t do Freedom of Information requests – so we will never know. On the other hand, Peter Crisp is a very fair man –  Carl Lygo also – so they may just refute this story, without revealing their private salaries, of their own accord!

Come on chaps….This is the legal profession we are talking about... Not many poor City Lawyers.

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So there I was, sitting at a table on Battersea Bridge Road, outside… at a cafe I go to, drinking coffee. Many cars went by with Ingerland flags on them.  Seated two tables to my left,  a group of builders…. getting over excited at the prospect of the World Cup.   To hear them talk… Ingerland had already won. I was almost tempted to take my VUVUZELA out of my jacket pocket….  but as I know absolutely nothing about football, I didn’t.

I will watch in the later stages, I am sure… but I will say this… that I do not share the desire shown by some of my fellow Scots (and other ‘celtic’ regions of Britain) to support *Anyone but England*.   That England was good enough to get into a World tournament – and other countries within our isle were not – is a pity for those who didn’t but the anti-English ‘thing’ (which I have seen all too often in the land of my childhood) is not something I will ever approve of.  I’m interested in history, but I’m not interested in bigotry and intolerance rooted in the history of many years ago.

It is unlikely that I shall be doing a commentary on the World Cup – largely because I don’t know anything about football… mind you… that doesn’t stop me commenting on other areas of human endeavour, including Law… so you never know.  For those of you who do enjoy football… enjoy… just remember… Family Lawyers do very well during World Cups as irate partners get bored with the lack of attention.

And… on that note… I shall leave you with some breaking news that I made up on Twitter…

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Ex Labour MPs and Tory peer lose expenses ruling

The BBC reports: Three former Labour MPs and a Tory peer are set to stand trial over expenses fraud allegations after a judge ruled they could not claim parliamentary privilege to stop prosecution.

Mr Justice Saunders rejected arguments by Elliott Morley, David Chaytor, Jim Devine and Lord Hanningfield that only Parliament could hear their case. There was no bar to a trial, he said. The four, who all deny charges of false accounting over their expenses, are to appeal against the decision.

Mr Justice Saunders  held that while the expenses procedure was covered by parliamentary privilege, the individual claim forms submitted were not covered. The Guardian noted: “The judge said the argument that submitting an expenses form was part of the proceedings of parliament, and therefore protected by privilege, was akin to saying that the coin used in a slot machine was part of its machinery.

“The decision that I have had to make has not been easy,” he said. “If the question of parliamentary privilege had not been raised, I would have initiated this inquiry myself, as I would have had to satisfy myself that the allegations to be investigated at trial were not covered by privilege.”

He added that the privilege was that of parliament, and not of any individual member, so the defendants would not have been able to waive it even if they had wanted to. He said the “extreme suggestion in some quarters that the fact that the defendants have raised this issue is some indication of guilt is not only misconceived but also unfair”.

In his ruling, Mr Justice Saunders said parliament does not have an effective procedure for investigating and deciding guilt, and the range of penalties open to parliament was “considerably smaller” than that available to the criminal courts. “If possible, it is preferable for criminal allegations to be decided by criminal courts who are equipped to deal with them,” he said.

The men charged are to appeal.  I’m not a specialist in constitutional law but I suspect that such an appeal is unlikely to succeed.  I haven’t had a chance to read the judgment of Saunders J – relying only on Guardian and BBC reports for the above.   If upon reading the full judgment I come to a different view I shall post on the issue.  The judge made an important point in reminding the media tyhat all charged before the criminal courts are innocent until proven guilty.  That, is at should be.

Thousands detained unlawfully in police stop-and-search blunder

The Times reports “that  Fourteen police forces have unlawfully stopped and searched thousands of people on the streets under controversial counter terror powers, the Home Office disclosed yesterday. The blunder occurred when police detained people without having permission to do so from a Home Office minister. On other occasions police continued to stop and search people for longer than they had been given authorisation under the law.”

This is likely to result in many claims for compensation being brought – and, in all probability, won.  More waste.  Hopefully, the need to cut costs will result in a considerable tightening up on the misuse of powers and those who do misuse powers being brought to account for it?  Baroness Neville-Jones, the Security Minister, said: “I am very concerned by these historical administrative errors. To maintain public confidence in our counter-terrorism powers, it is absolutely crucial all those responsible for exercising them do so properly.”

Given Baroness Neville-Jones’ background in security, her remarks are worth noting for future reference.

Deregulating the law profession

A conference on the future of the bar in England and Wales needs to ensure that those working in law can keep their independence

Joshua Rozenberg writes:

Lawyers are not alone in wondering whether they’ll keep their jobs when the cuts begin to bite. But, unlike most professionals, they have little idea what state their profession will be in by the time of the next general election in 2015.

Tonight barristers’ leaders are holding a major symposium on the future of the bar in England and Wales. The chairman of the bar council, Nicholas Green QC, will report back on changes the bar has made to meet the new regulatory requirements imposed by Labour.

“Our task is to modernise the bar and to ensure that it emerges from the recession all the stronger,” Green is expected to say. “I have no doubt that we can do this.”

His counterpart at the Law Society, the solicitors’ leader Robert Heslett, fears that the planned reforms will deprive the legal profession of the independence that has given it a “sky-high reputation across the world”.

I have done a number of podcasts on this subject which you may find of interest, if you haven’t already listened to them.

College of Law Inside Track Podcast: Chris Kenny, Chief Executive of the Legal Services Board
Today I talk to Chris Kenny, CEO of the Legal Services Board. Chris Kenny discusses the role and the function of the Legal Services Board and whether there is a need for it.  He talks about the opportunities and threats to lawyers and legal services over the next five years.  He looks at the impact on the Rule of Law given the proposed cuts to civil and criminal legal aid.  He discusses the globalisation of legal services and international regulatory standards.  Lastly, a bit of futurology, Chris discusses the likely legal landscape in the next five years.

Listen to the podcast

College of Law Inside Track Podcast: Nicholas Green QC – Chairman of the Bar on the future of the legal profession
Nicholas Green QC outlines his vision for the future of the Bar, his optimism that it will continue to develop and grow and his belief in the need for it to become more commercial, while holding on to the highest professional standards. He discusses the impact of the Legal Services Act, including the ability of barristers to go into partnership with solicitors, the issue of direct access to the Bar plus the increasing flexibility of career routes into the profession.

Listen to the podcast

Podcast for Inside Track: Ted Burke, CEO, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer – The Future of The Legal Profession
Today I am talking to Ted Burke about  the prospects for Freshfields and the legal sector in the short to medium term.  He looks at the increasing globalisation of legal work and the knock-on effect for younger lawyers going to work in the City.  He discusses emerging economies such as India, China and Russia and considers opportunities for lawyers to outsource.  As a US qualified lawyer, Ted gives his view on the value of young City lawyers being US/UK dual-qualified.  He considers how the Legal Services Act will impact Freshfields and the other City and commercial law firms.  He ends with a look at the Eurozone and the role of lawyers in clearing up the ‘mess’ and the future global regulation of banking.
Listen to The College of Law Inside Track podcast

Law Society Gazette Podcast: Robert Heslett, President of The Law Society Today I am talking To Robert Heslett. We cover a wide range of topics from the rule of law, the opportunities and threats to the solicitors profession, human rights and Twitter and other forms of social media and how they could be of benefit to lawyers.

Listen to the podcast

College of Law Inside Track podcast: Professor Stephen Mayson on the legal landscape.

Today I talk to Professor Stephen Mayson. He considers the future of the legal profession and the legal landscape following the opportunities for alternate business structures and the opportunities for young lawyers coming into the profession over the next few years.
Listen to the podcast

Professor Richard Susskind OBE – Professor Richard Susskind paints a fascinating and vivid picture of the way the legal profession is likely to develop, based on his research and his best-selling book The End of Lawyers? This is a must listen to for all lawyers, prospective, newly qualified and experienced.Listen to the podcast

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