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Solicitor’s file – who owns what?

If the client asks for ‘the file’, what do you have to hand over? The answer depends solely on the concept of ownership – you hand over documents that actually belong to the client, and retain those that belong to you.
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PII – aggregation

The CA has given relatively unhelpful guidance on the interpretation of aggregation clauses within PII minimum terms and conditions.
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Fee compromise – wide release clause

There has been a very interesting decision involving an agreement between a firm of solicitors and its former client over unpaid fees, with the terms of the compromise settlement then prohibiting the client (and associated company) from suing for negligence over the claim that was being handled. There are lessons in it for all solicitors.
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PII – disclosure obligations

The minimum terms and conditions of PII cover are being changed to bring them in line with Insurance Act 2015. The result will be a higher standard of disclosure imposed on solicitors.
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Moves – anti-poaching

The sudden loss of a profitable team can be a devastating blow to any practice. That is why most partnership agreements contain provisions designed to deter such movement. But, it can be difficult to find the right balance. Some suggestions are:
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SDT – Principle 1

There have been concerns raised about the way in which the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal has been interpreting Principle 1: ‘you must uphold the rule of law and the proper administration of justice’.
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Costs budgets – Precedent H

The new costs budgeting rules came into force on 6 April 2016. The most important change involves the times for filing the Precedent H form. If the claim is valued at less than £50,000, it now needs to be filed with the directions questionnaire. If the case is valued over £50,000, a Precedent H must be filed 21 days prior to the costs and case management conference (CCMC).
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Client advice – general risks

Specialist tax solicitors were sued by a client over a failed tax avoidance scheme. While their advice about the scheme was not negligent, they were negligent in failing to give a ‘general warning’ (eg that HMRC might challenge the scheme).

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Accounts rules – ‘risk’

The old list of prescribed work and test procedures to be carried out by accountants when reviewing law firm accounts has been replaced by r43.A.1, which requires accountants to exercise their ‘professional judgement’ in deciding how much work is needed.

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Professional – update

The difficulties in the personal injury sector are well illustrated by recent results: Minster Law lost £35m last year, and Raleys (well known for coal claims) went bust [2016] LSG 21 March 3, while Slater and Gordon – struggling under last year’s £500m loss – is contemplating major restructuring and redundancies [2016] LSG 11 April 4. On a more upbeat note, the Co-op, which has already been through its restructuring, has moved from a £5m loss to a £700,000 profit. [2016] LSG 11 April 1. Quality Solicitors meanwhile is also changing its direction (again!) and is becoming increasingly allied with property services firm Move With Us; its last filed accounts showed a loss of £2.7m.

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Most-read articles

Probate fees – increase
Tuesday, 09 April 2019
The much-criticised increase in probate fees comes into effect in April 2019 and apply whether or not a solicitor is involved.  Read more...
SRA – Standards and Regulations introduced November 2019
Tuesday, 09 April 2019
We reported in our February 2019 edition (p32) and March 2019 edition (p33) that the SRA is phasing in its introduction of the new ’Standards and Regulations’ which will replace the 2011... Read more...
LiP – keep informed?
Tuesday, 09 April 2019
We do not usually report on changes which are not yet in force. However, litigators have been warned to expect changes to the processes relating to litigants in person which might come into effect on... Read more...
Interim costs order – when to exercise
Tuesday, 09 April 2019
The Gazette reports on an interesting County Court case where an interim costs order has been granted to solicitors where the full value of the claim will not be quantified until 2022. Read more...
Defective Premises Act – L liable
Tuesday, 09 April 2019
The CA has held that a social L was liable to a T for injury caused due to a faulty drain cover. Read more...
Service charges – recovery of more than 100%?
Tuesday, 09 April 2019
We reported in our February 2019 edition (p24) that the RICS Code of Practice Service Charges in Commercial Property (1st edition) comes into force on 1 April 2019. Read more...
Allotments – protection
Tuesday, 09 April 2019
With the increasing pressure to build new homes, there is a possibility that areas designated for allotments might be under threat of development. Read more...
Children – standard of proof
Tuesday, 09 April 2019
The Court of Appeal refused F’s appeal against the judge’s findings in care proceedings under Part IV CA 1989 that he had sexually abused his daughter (Y). Read more...
NDA – ignoring!
Tuesday, 09 April 2019
Recently, some employees have spoken publicly about sexual harassment in breach of NDA confidentiality obligations.  Read more...
Offences – assault; emergency workers
Tuesday, 09 April 2019
The Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018 follows the increasing number of assaults on emergency workers in the UK.  Read more...

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