You are here

The legal week

General Counsel

1 July 2016

Add comment

Shami Chakrabarti has urged the Labour party to appoint a general counsel to support its general secretary.

Last week, the former director of Liberty published her report on anti-semitism in the Labour party following a two-month inquiry.

Her recommendations included the need for an in-house lawyer to give initial advice on disciplinary matters within the party and to instruct external lawyers where necessary.

Chakrabarti said: 'Whilst my remit is racism, I believe that the recommendations that I make here are of wider applicability to all aspects of discipline and to the relationship between the membership, elected and staff structures of the Party apparatus.'

In acknowledging the work of Labour-leaning lawyers in private practice who had offered their services pro bono or for a fee, Chakrabarti said that her inquiry had revealed the 'sheer inadequacy' of the in-house resources.

Chakrabarti said the role of the party's general secretary was 'under-supported, not least for the lack of a single in-house lawyer, notwithstanding his responsibilities for electoral law, data protection and aspects of the disciplinary process.'

The 39 Essex Chambers barrister also called for additional expert staff to work on matters of discipline.

Conduct

An unregistered barrister, Tiyani Behanzin, is to be suspended for a minimum of 12 months until he pays outstanding financial orders, an independent disciplinary tribunal has ordered. As a result, he is not entitled to hold a practising certificate in this period.

Behanzin did not pay orders totalling £1,335, imposed for previous disciplinary offences in 2011. These related to holding himself out as a barrister in connection with the provision of legal services when he did not have a practising certificate.

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) sent Behanzin letters and emails over four years, to which he did not reply.

The tribunal ordered two 12-month suspensions for the two charges relating to not cooperating with the regulator. For not paying the financial orders, the suspension was ordered to remain in place until the outstanding money was paid.

Training

HM Revenue and Customs is expanding its apprenticeship programme in September 2016, hiring 19 new legal apprentices in the HMRC Solicitors Office and Legal Services (SOLS). SOLS provides legal services to the whole of HMRC.

The apprentices will follow either the intermediate apprenticeship in legal administration or CILEx level 3 advanced apprenticeship in legal services programmes. They will be based in HMRC's Manchester, Nottingham,

Leeds, Bristol, Cardiff, Birmingham, and London offices, with a cohort of nine based in London. CILEx Law School is HMRC's training provider for legal apprenticeships.

Meanwhile, Carillion Advice Services (CAS) is launching a legal apprenticeship programme, with the recruitment of four paralegal apprentices into its Newcastle office. The apprentices, due to start in September 2016, will support the delivery of CAS's managed legal services offering.

Barristers

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has published a consultation seeking views on the proposed continuing professional development (CPD) regime for barristers on the established practitioner programme will be in place from January 2017. To prepare for the new CPD regime, the BSB has published a consultation seeking views on the proposed changes to the rules and regulations governing the new scheme. The regulator has previously consulted on the proposed nature and structure of the new CPD regime, which has now been finalised. This new consultation concerns the rules that will appear in the BSB Handbook and provide the formal regulatory framework for the new CPD scheme. The consultation seeks comments on the way in which these rules are drafted. The consultation closes on 1 September.

Merger

Fieldfisher has agreed a merger with Italian law firm Studio Associato Servizi Professionali Integrati (SASPI). The merger, structured as a Swiss Verein, will take effect on 1 July 2016 and will see SASPI adopt the Fieldfisher brand name.

Together the two firms will have around 970 professionals and will take the total number of offices in the Fieldfisher network, which currently includes offices in Silicon Valley, Shanghai, France, Belgium, Germany, and the UK, to 13.

SASPI's areas of expertise include banking, corporate, and tax law, while it boasts Apple, Amazon, BMW, and Total among its clients.

Judges

Sarah Louise Cove has been appointed as a district judge. Cove was admitted as a solicitor in 1993 and was appointed as a deputy district judge in 2010. A founding partner at Miles & Partners LLP, and member of its family practice, Sarah was a member of the Law Society's Children Panel and of the Association of Lawyers for Children, as well as being a Resolution-accredited specialist. Cove will be deployed to the south eastern circuit, based at the Central Family Court, with effect from 29 June 2016.

Insurance

The Forum of Insurance Lawyers (FOIL) has launched the FOIL Standard, a dedicated set of competence statements for defendant insurance lawyers.

The FOIL Standard, which sits alongside the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)'s baseline competence statement, required of all solicitors, provides a benchmark for insurance lawyers and their insurer clients of competence in specialist areas of insurance law.

Technology

The Link App has enticed Sir Nigel Knowles, former global co-chairman of DLA Piper, to join its advisory board.

Knowles retired from DLA Piper at the end of June after nearly four decades at the firm. He joins other industry experts on the advisory board as The Link App looks to grow further in the legal tech market.

Categorised in:

Risk & Compliance Technology