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Archive for October, 2012

Photograph by Stephen Punter – an enthusiastic supporter of law (and my tour) who has given me permission to publish his remarkable black and white photographs in my tour reports.  Website Stephen Punter Photography – he  is also on twitter @stephenpunter

The regulation of lawyers in this country is vital to the maintenance of honest and best practice.  Solicitors are represented by The Law Society and regulated by The Solicitors Regulation Authority.  Barristers are represented by The Bar Council and regulated by The Bar Standards Board.  I plan to deal with the regulation of barristers in a separate lawcast later in the tour; similarly Charted Legal Executives, the third principal branch of the profession.  The regulators are regulated by The Legal Services Board and dissatisfied clients can take their claims to The Legal Ombudsman.  The profession is heavily – but not  necessarily – well or fairly regulated.

Today I talk with Andrew Hopper QC about the regulatory framework for solicitors, the Code of Practice, the strengths and shortcomings of the Solicitors regulation Authority and the need for legal education to be improved with good training for prospective lawyers in ethics – the morals and not simply the rules.

Listen to the podcast

Loads immediately in Chrome.  Firefox takes a while to load the whole file before streaming.  I will be opening a new iTunes account shortly to enable you to subscribe (free) in iTunes.

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Andrew Hopper is a solicitor and Queen’s Counsel; still a rare combination. He was admitted a solicitor in 1972 and from 1988 has practised on his own account in a niche practice concerned with professional regulation and discipline, principally in relation to solicitors. He was appointed Silk in 2001, the fifth solicitor Silk to be appointed and the first outside the City of London. He is regarded by many as the foremost expert of his generation on the law and practice related to the regulation of solicitors.

  • He has written, with Gregory Treverton-Jones QC, the Solicitor’s Handbook 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012, an intended annual publication proposed to be the natural successor to the Guide, but containing in one place all the professional rules to which solicitors are subject, as well as guidance about the regulatory system generally, written with the benefit of over thirty years experience of this area of law. With the same co-author he has written a guide to Outcomes-Focused Regulation as adopted by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in October 2011. Unlike the Guide however the Handbook is written from the perspective of the practitioner, rather than that of the regulator.
  • He is joint General Editor of Cordery on Legal Services, the principal authority on the law and practice affecting the regulation of the supply of legal services, including all aspects of the professional obligations and liabilities of solicitors and the other legal professions, and he is a consulting editor to the fifth edition of Halsbury’s Laws of England on the subject of solicitors
  • Website

 

Follow the Charon QC UK Tour on the new blog – register for emails, if you would like to be notified about new reports and you may download the podcasts through iTunes.  I am using the blogroll facility on the left hand side to set all reports out in chronological order.

Charon QC UK Law Tour blog

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We share our common law heritage with many former colonies, territories, protectorates and dependencies  throughout the world and Commonwealth

Antonin Pribetic,  a Canadian lawyer and enthusiastic blogger (The Trial Warrior blog) considers a rather important difference of opinion from the justices of the UKSC and SCC and has given  permission to me to publish his recent blog post.  (infra)

It is an important decision – one which illustrates the very real importance of the ‘unelected judiciary’ in the development of our law – a topic which I shall be examining in some detail during the tour.

See the full report on the UK Tour blog

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The UK Tour begins now…. with some background which I hope will be of interest to non-lawyers.  Professor Gary Slapper has kindly provided the first report and Chapter 1 of his book:  How Law Works

Report #1: The Law is all pervasive

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Litigation Victory for the Royal Shakespeare Company
By Osborne Clarke

The recent decision of the General Court of Justice of the European Union confirmed victory for the Royal Shakespeare Company after its lengthy battle with Austrian company Jackson International Trading Co. In 2003 Jackson registered a community trade mark which was later subject to examination due to an application for a declaration of invalidity submitted by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Under Art. 8(5) various conditions must be met in order for a trade mark to invalidate a later one. Firstly, the trade mark in question must be registered and both marks must be identical or similar. The mark must have reputation within the EU or member state depending on whether it’s a community or national trade mark. Finally, the court must conclude that if the second mark were to be used without due cause there would be a risk that there would be an unfair advantage or that it may be detrimental to the distinctive nature of the initial trade mark.

There were numerous grounds cited on the application for a declaration of invalidity including the submission that the CTM would deceive the public, the use of the CTM would be damaging to the reputation of the Royal Shakespeare Company and that the law in England and Wales would prohibit use of the second mark under the laws of passing off.

Although the Cancellation Division originally rejected the application, the Royal Shakespeare Company went on to appeal to the Board of Appeal of OHIM who found in their favour and declared in the CTM to be invalid. Jackson based their subsequent appeal on the claims that the Royal Shakespeare Company’s reputation did not extend to the public at large, that the two marks were not similar enough to cause confusion and that there was no ‘reasonable circumstance or evidence’ to suggest that the use of the second mark would take unfair advantage or be damaging to the reputation of the RSC. However, the General Court rejected this argument, confirmed the decision of the Board of Appeal of OHIM and stated that Jackson had not provided evidence of due cause and thus there was no justification for using the CTM. The Royal Shakespeare Company have, therefore, been successful in their attempt to have the CTM declared invalid, protected their existing trademarks and their reputation throughout the European Union.

Osborne Clarke is an international law firm with a team of highly rated litigators with strong sector expertise. For more information please visit Osborne Clarke Litigation

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The ‘Jag Rouge’ or Charonmobile….

My tour of UK to find out what lawyers and others think about our legal system begins on Thursday 1st November.
The first report will be in the form of a podcast with Andrew Hopper QC on the regulatory framework.  Andrew Hopper QC will share his experience and shine a bright light on the workings of the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

I plan to do five podcasts with lawyers in London to start the tour and then gradually move from the South-East through the country.  A schedule will be published soon for the first section of the tour through to March 2013. The tour will end back in London when I plan to do a detailed survey of legal practice in London and The City.

Together with the many lawyers who have kindly agreed to contribute by acting as ‘roving reporters’ I shall start publishing background text, analysis and comment – an important feature of the entire project.  The tour will take at least a year to complete.

All reports will be published simultaneously on my Charon QC blog  and on the new Charon UK Tour blog (The latter will enable me to archive the reports and order them for easy reading and access.)

AND Thanks.. to all the sponsors who have helped to make this project a reality!

For those interested in kit and gizmos…

The Vehicle: Jaguar 3.2 Sport (1995)  – remarkably cheap  (£1050 including Satnav fitting and the car is in first rate condition.) It would appear that people just don’t want old cars. The dealer told me he was selling Jags of this age and quality for £3k+ a year or so back.  My good fortune!  The car does about 30mpg – roughly the same as a camper van.

Recording equipment for Podcasts:  Zoom H4N Recorder/microphone, Sennheiser wireless clip microphone for use for podcasts and televised sections,  I am purchasing a fourth hypercardidoid microphone next week and will update the post when I have chosen the microphone and rig I purchase.

Televised recordings:  Sony Z1 HD and a Sony Handycam HDR-CX190

Camera: Nikon Digital SLR D3100

Computer:  iMac 24″, Macbook Air and iPad 3
So.. the tour is about to begin.  I am looking forward to it and I very much hope you will take part by commenting – or, meeting me as I travel the length and breadth of our sceptred isle!

Jon Harman – has designed an advert for the tour – please do click – he has done great work!

Van Rouge from Jon Harman on Vimeo.

 

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Following the significant press coverage of privacy and data security, international law firm Osborne Clarke commissioned an Ipsos MORI survey of over 5,000 adults across Europe to better understand their views on usage of their personal data.

Key findings have been illustrated in the below infographic. You can also download an executive summary of their market insight report here.

Sue Gold, Privacy and Data Protection Partner at Osborne Clarke says: “There are major discrepancies across Europe as to how consumers’ view the use of their data. Corporates need to consider on a country-by-country basis how their products and services are going to be perceived.”

 

 

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