Thursday 17 May 2012

West London firm Lovell Chohan says it is leading the fundraising league table of 408 teams taking part in next Monday's London Legal Walk. The firm has already raised £6,000 for the London Legal Support Trust and aims to reach £7,500 by the end of the event, solicitors clerk Chris Shearwood said. Some 5,000 legal figures, including the lord chief justice and master of the rolls, are expected to take part in the 10km walk around London legal landmarks. See tinyurl.com/bwbc6d5.

Early plea extension

The next batch of Crown courts to join the early guilty plea scheme has been agreed, attorney general Dominic Grieve QC said. The scheme began in Liverpool in 2009 and has been trialled in Reading, Winchester and Bristol.

The aim is to identify cases that will end up as guilty pleas. The 24 new court centres to adopt the programme include Oxford, Southampton, Manchester, Taunton, Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Nottingham and Aylesbury.

Phillips off to Qatar

The first president of the Supreme Court, Lord Phillips, will succeed Lord Woolf as president of the Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Centre in September. Phillips, who retires from the Supreme Court in the autumn, has also been recommended for the role of non-permanent judge of the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong.

Tougher sentences

More dangerous dog offenders will face jail and community orders under new Sentencing Council guidelines published this week.

Global quality mark

International firm Trowers & Hamlins has been awarded the Law Society Lexcel legal quality mark across all of its international offices. It is the first firm to gain the award in the Middle East.

In-Deed acquisition

Online property company In-Deed has bought conveyancing firm Runnetts for £225,000. In-Deed said it is in continuing acquisition discussions with other law firms, conveyancers and estate agents.

Council's Fiji concern

A damning report on the rule of law in Fiji was set to be approved by the Law Society Council as the Gazette went to press. The report, by council member Nigel Dodds, highlighted government interference with the legal profession and the courts. Following the motion, Chancery Lane is expected to challenge Fiji's DPP to admit an international delegation through the involvement of the International Bar Association. Fiji's 'interim' government has been in power since a military coup in 2006 and refused entry to an IBA delegation in 2009.

Fining power plea

The Law Society has told the SRA it cannot apply the same fining powers to traditional law firms that it has for alternative business structures. The SRA is considering imposing a £250m limit on fines for all firms, but the Society, in a letter to the Ministry of Justice, said more serious matters should be left to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.

Committee members

The Law Society's family law committee and children law sub-committee are seeking new members. The deadline for applications is 21 May.

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