Archive for November 20th, 2012

UK Tour Report #10: Professor de Londras – Guantanamo and they key issues in human rights for Europe

We have a Bill of Rights in this country. It’s called the Human Rights Act and is thoroughly British, European and universal in its values”

Shami Chakrabarti, Liberty

Human rights underpins much of our law and we are in the midst of controversy yet again with a government appearing determined to avoid complying with the European Court of Human Rights in relation to prisoner votes and ‘disappointed’ with the recent judgment of SIAC in relation to Abu Qatada.

Today I am talking to Fiona De Londras, professor of law at Durham University. Her research primarily focuses on questions related to effective rights protection with a particular concentration on times of strain and crisis and especially counter-terrorism.

We look at the problems the US President faces with the closure of Guantanamo Bay – promised within a year of his inauguration as President four year ago – as a comparison with the difficulties the British government faces in relation to compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights – and then consider likely developments within human rights law in the United Kingdom in the next few years.

The plans announced yesterday by the government to limit the scope of Judicial review – covered well by Adam Wagner at the UK Human Rights blog: A war on Judicial Review? [updated] – bring into sharp focus the need to examine how Britain will respond to the human rights agenda in the future.

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Guest Post: The Legal UK Chambers Guide

The Legal UK Chambers Guide
BY Hughes Carlisle Law

Finding the right solicitor is not always easy. Though there are countless names and numbers in the telephone directory, picking out one solicitor from such a vast selection usually involves a degree of randomness. Of course, when choosing a solicitor, randomness should never be a factor. How can people who are in need of professional legal counsel choose between the lawyers who advertise on television and those whose names appear on high-street billboards? What makes one law firm’s website different from all the others? Does the process have to be so difficult?

In answer to the last question, no. Finding the right solicitor does not have to be such a difficult task, at least not if people use the Chambers UK Law Guide for reference.

Chambers UK Law Guide

Endorsed by British Market Research Bureau (BMRB), the Chambers UK Law Guide is published once a year and includes details of solicitors working in the UK. The guide covers no less than 70 legal specialities, including agriculture, charities, clinical negligence, crime, education, health and safety, local government, personal injury, social housing and tax. Some specialities include subcategories that list niche areas of the law. This is especially useful for people who require a particular type of legal service, as finding experts who specialise in niche fields can be all but impossible in some cases.

Firms throughout the UK, whether its Birmingham, London or Liverpool solicitors who specialise in spinal injury cases, for example, are usually far more difficult to find than non-specialist personal injury solicitors in Manchester. Likewise, if a person or company requires expert legal counsel on an issue as complex and challenging as, say, pensions, there is little use in going to a generalist employment law solicitor; niche areas of the law require specialists.

The Chambers UK Law Guide lists thousands of law firms and solicitors, placing their details in whichever categories and subcategories are relevant to their services. This act alone is immensely useful for any person who needs to find a solicitor, as categorising law firms by speciality enables prospective clients to refine their search criteria.


Chambers also produces a law guide for students, which lists the types of training and employment opportunities offered by firms in various parts of the country. Another guide covers barristers, while similar publications exist in other countries, but the Chambers UK Law Guide is undoubtedly the most useful general purpose publication for finding a solicitor in the UK.

One of the main advantages of the Chambers UK Law Guide is that it provides an independent assessment of law firms, listing the strengths and weaknesses of each practice or solicitor. Law firms are only included in the guide if they pass a basic standard of assessment, but most readers will be more interested in the ranking system of the guide.

Every year, the Chambers UK Law Guide includes a new assessment of each solicitor or law firm; reviews published in previous years are not simply updated or revised, so assessments are generally accurate and up to date. A numerical ranking system is used to rate each law firm or solicitor, with six being the lowest rank or band and one being the highest. Of course, band-six law firms are still good enough to be included in the guide, so the rankings only refer to measurable quality beyond a minimum standard, which is actually quite high.

The Chambers UK Law Guide provides readers with an objective, independent analysis of law firms and solicitors in the UK, covering a wide range of specialities. It is an indispensable guide for those who need to find the right lawyer.

Written on behalf of Hughes Carlisle Law

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