The Solicitors Regulation Authority is seeking views on continuing professional development. An online questionnaire is open until 20 April.
Mediation pilot A pilot scheme to divert to mediation Court of Appeal personal injury and contract claims up to the value of £100,000 began this week. Unless a judge directs otherwise, case papers will be automatically recommended for mediation to the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution. If parties agree to mediate and settle, the case will not go back to the appeal court.
Ethical professor Professor Richard Moorhead has been appointed as the first chair in law and professional ethics at University College London. He will take up the post in September.
Smaller council? Members of the Law Society of Scotland are to vote on proposals to cut the size of the governing council. The new council would comprise 30 solicitors elected by constituency, down from 39 at present, with up to seven co-opted solicitors (two fewer than at present) and nine non-solicitor members. The society is also considering electronic voting.
Support consultation The Legal Services Commission has launched a consultation on discontinuing the Specialist Support Service. The deadline for responses is 11 May.
Student members Birmingham City University will enrol all 280 of its September LLB intake as members of the Birmingham Law Society. The society has set up a student committee that aims to help local law students improve their prospects of finding a training contract.
ARP firms closed A total of 15 firms are to be shut after failing to secure professional indemnity insurance by 1 April, the Solicitors Regulation Authority has said. The firms are among 31 in the assigned risks pool (ARP). Five obtained a deadline waiver, two are on the verge of getting insurance and the remaining nine found an insurer. From next year the ARP will be replaced by an extended indemnity period, under which insurers will have to provide additional cover for firms they refuse to reinsure.
District presidency District Judge Richard Chapman has been appointed president of the Association of Her Majesty's District Judges. Chapman, 66, sits at Telford County Court and Stafford County Court. His election just nine years after his appointment to the judiciary represents an association record. He is a former president of Birmingham Law Society.
European merger for OC National firm Osborne Clarke (OC) is to merge with alliance firms OC Spain and SLA Italy to double its offices to 12 and bring its partners up to 145. OC alliance firms in Germany and the US are to become part of a 'more loosely aligned group of like-minded firms'.