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Expert Witness Blog

12/07/2012: Who cares? And who cares about Lords reform? by Chris Stokes

expert witness blog logoIt's amazing what happens when you turn your back for a second. Last week I began work looking at the Government's proposals for reform of the House of Lords and the effect it would have in Scotland.

The Law Society of Scotland stated in response to the proposals: "The UK Parliament still has important legislative functions in relation to Scotland in the context of UK legislation on reserved areas under the Scotland Act 1998 and as amended in 2012, which must also be taken into account."

Its director of law reform Michael Clancy welcomed the Bill that was introduced on 27 June, saying: "As the UK does not have a written constitution, having two Houses of Parliament provides an essential system of checks and balances, however we believe the House of Commons should retain its prominence."

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 July 2012 15:11


Expert Witness blog by Chris Stokes

expert witness blog logoThe Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill has finally limped its way into law, and its many opponents might be expected to be retiring to lick their wounds and tool up for the next election and a chance of getting rid of it with another government. Indeed, the Bill's most vocal critic in the Lords, Lord Bach, has given up his front bench post in the wake of its passing into law.

However, Lord Bach is not giving up the fight: he had always intended to return to the backbenches after doing what he could to thwart the Bill and he has taken to the road. This year's London Legal Walk, in support of legal advice centres, was a seminal one in that it marked the start of 'FightBach', as the peer has styled his Twitter self.

Last Updated on Monday, 09 July 2012 11:53


Expert Witness blog: 28/05/2012

Your Expert Witness blogAs has been mentioned before, there is a campaign being waged among junior lawyers in the Law Society to resist moves to abolish the minimum salary for trainee solicitors. The Junior Lawyers Division of the society has branded the decision to deregulate as having "effectively slammed the door shut in the faces of those from lower socio-economic groups trying to enter the profession". Now the opinion has emerged that women will be 'disproportionately affected' by the move. The opinion is that of...erm, the Association of Women Solicitors (AWS).

AWS chairwoman Joy Van-Cooten and AWS Law Society Council member Sarah Austin issued a joint statement, in which they said: "We are concerned it will discourage able women away from the profession and the result will be a return to a less diverse profession that will reflect practitioners' means rather than their merit." They didn't say why.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 11:12


Expert Witness blog: 16/05/2012

Your Expert Witness blogThose of you who think lawyers are stuffy and un-cool, think again! The Wimbledon office of Morrisons' solicitors has been advising their local high school in the Young Enterprise competition, a Europe-wide competition that encourages groups of school and college students to set up a business for a year. And the company – called QuickZip (yes, with a 'Q') – won the Most Innovative Product prize in the regional final.

The product, a shirt that can be adapted to formal or informal functions, can be bought on e-Bay. In a press release Morrisons' announced it would be continuing to advise the school, Raynes Park in south west London, for this year's competition.

The community initiative was lauded by legal sit vacs site Professionals in Law, in its Epilogue news section. Also on the site, Morrisons' is advertising insolvency solicitor. Different office, I hasten to add: the vacancy is in Woking.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 11:13


Expert Witness blog: 09/05/2012

Your Expert Witness blogWith half the economies of Europe going down the pan – and the other half already there – it is appropriate that one of the issues most exercising the legal world is that of wills and probate. Last month the Legal Services Board published proposals to make will writing and estate administration 'reserved activities'. The justification for the proposal is that it would allow for regulation of the activities and the protection of consumers.

Quoted in the Law Society Gazette, the LSB said that "too often consumers were subjected to unfair sales practices...and indeed the incidence of fraud, was also disappointing".

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 11:16