Monday 04 February 2013

Universa Law, a specialist personal injury firm in London, has been licensed as an alternative business structure by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The firm said it had no immediate plans to alter the structure of the business, but would be speaking to potential investors or joint venture partners 'with a view to exploring any opportunities that exist'.

Standoff continues over contract terms

A dispute between the Bar Council and Law Society over newly introduced standard contractual terms for barristers continued this week with the bar responding to a practice note issued to solicitors by Chancery Lane.

The Bar Council's guidance for barristers claims that variations to the standard contract proposed by the Law Society 'give rise to some serious potential difficulties', including the risk of being uninsured.

QASA update

Introduction of the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates will be delayed by nine months, with phased accreditation beginning in September, the joint advocacy group running the scheme announced this week. The group says it is still working on details and expects to make a submission to the Legal Services Board on the final scheme at the beginning of May.

New code for Crown prosecutors

The cost of prosecutions will be considered as part of the proportionality test under a new code for Crown prosecutors published by the director of public prosecutions. Prosecutors will also have to consider whether evidence can be used in court, together with its reliability and credibility.

Council outsource plan on hold

The first attempt by a local authority to outsource regulatory services such as planning and trading standards is on hold because of a legal challenge.

The London Borough of Barnet said this week that its Development and Regulatory Services project has been postponed pending the outcome of a judicial review of a separate £320m contract to outsource council care services.

US e-course targets foreign students 

An inaugural class of foreign attorneys in an online Master of Law (LLM) programme offered by Washington University School of Law, St Louis, has drawn students from seven countries. The university claims that @WashULaw is the first top-tier online LLM in the US available to foreign attorneys interested in developing expertise in US law.

Holyrood votes for legal aid collection

Controversial laws to make suspects contribute towards their defence costs and make solicitors responsible for collecting the money have been passed by the Scottish Parliament. The issue provoked lawyers in Scotland to take part in one-day strikes in protest over the plans, which could yet be subject to legal challenge.

Firm sends document review east

City firm Pinsent Masons has revealed that it is sending case documents to a legal process centre run by outsourcer Capita in Krakow, Poland. The centre has 85 staff.

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