Thursday 06 December 2012
Newly elected Forum of Insurance Lawyers president Rod Evans (pictured) has promised to make sure the industry is heard during debates on market reforms. Evans, a partner at national firm Greenwoods Solicitors, takes over for 2013 from Don Clarke after a year as vice-president.
Law firms in merger talks
A survey of more than 40 professional services providers, the majority of them law firms, has found that 71% have been in merger or acquisition talks in the past 12 months. The research, from Deloitte and Winmark, found 81% of those in talks were looking to merge with a smaller firm to retain management control and name.
New offences and sentences including a mandatory life sentence after a second conviction for a serious sexual or violent offence, aggravated knife possession, and causing injury by dangerous driving came into effect this week through the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.
Mediation scheme extended
Membership of the Law Society's family mediation scheme will be extended to all suitably qualified mediators, not just solicitors, from April. All those accredited by the Family Mediation Council will be able to passport onto the Society's panel.
Video court numbers up
The number of magistrates' courts using video links with police stations has risen from five to 19 in 2012. The Ministry of Justice this week confirmed the further spread in video technology, which allows defendants or police officers to give evidence from the station. The first use was at Camberwell Green in 2009.
Linklaters in SA alliance
Magic circle firm Linklaters has announced an alliance with South African firm Webber Wentzel. The partnership will take effect on 1 February and give Linklaters resources to deal with the 200 live matters it is currently dealing with in Africa.
Wrexham firm Cyril Jones & Co has become the 2,000th firm to be accredited to the Law Society's Conveyancing Quality Scheme since the scheme was set up in 2011.
New family mediation
The Ministry of Justice has introduced a new version of the Family Mediation Information and Assessment Form (FM1). The form should be completed by anyone applying to the courts to resolve disputes following a relationship breakdown. The form is available at justice.gov.uk/forms.