Are you interested in the history of "New"? See:
New from 2008 or
New from 2009 or
New from 2010 or
New from 2011 or
New from 2012.
Last updated December 4th 2013.
Fear for fraud or other abuse of proposed system to put Enduring Power of Attorney forms online
Will the Government's plans to allow relatives of old people to obtain Enduring Power of Attorney
by a simple online process lead to abuse of the system?
This is one of the systems planned to be put online on the
Gov.uk site. The present process is described
The process is very cumbersome at the moment, taking several
weeks and complicated forms requiring to be witnessed and then sent to the Office of the Public Guardian
for approval. Yes, the process is cumbersome, but does a process which can be carried out completely online
go too far in "simplifying" the process? The new proposals are described on the
Law Society Gazette.
The Law Society fears that removing the need for a signature and witnesses puts the vulnerable at risk of fraud
from unscrupulous relatives or conmen. President Nicholas Fluck has come out against the proposal.
He says: "The proposed system removes safeguards against abuse of a vulnerable sector of society who
are susceptible to fraud and duress."
The topic is also discussed in the
Last updated December 3rd 2013.
To time or not to time? That is the question.
There are around 200 members in the
Quality Solicitors network - good size local and
regional firms who have joined the "brand". According to a story in the
Law Society Gazette,
they are planning to abandon hourly rates and will offer potential clients the option of a fixed fee rate
after a free interview to determine the nature and scope of the work.
There will however be a pilot scheme for around 15 firms.
The story is also covered in
Litigation is apparently included although there could be some special complications there where clients
might want to pursue litigation "for ever" rather than accept some kind of settlement. Who is to say what is fair?
Other groups offering fized fees include
Riverview Law (and see their article on this topic
Stobart Barristers ("top people. Fixed cost").
My experience is that most smaller firms - good firms - are afraid of fixed fee costs since they do not
know how to protect themselves against the unexpected contingencies which could arise. And explaining
all these possible problems is not usually a good way to start a relationship.
And the firms are not big enough, or profitable enough, to take big risks with this.
Last updated December 1st 2013.
New book from Eduardo Ustaran on the key issues of Privacy and Data Protection
The Future of Privacy
by Eduardo Ustaran has just been released by Legal Publisher
DataGuidance, part of Cecile Park Publishing Ltd.
The book looks at the key issues of privacy and data protection and argues that in order to get the balance
right, policy makers, regulators and organisations must address the specific challenges presented by rapidly
evolving technology, the increasing value of personal information and the globalisation of data-reliant
Leading expert Eduardo Ustaran makes a number of public policy suggestions about how to address
these factors and anticipates the key elements that organisations and privacy professionals will need
to tackle to comply with the regulatory framework of the future.
Eduardo is an internationally recognised expert in privacy and data protection law and
specialises in the legal issues that derive from the use of information technology and the Internet.
He is a dually qualified English Solicitor and Spanish Abogado, a partner in
Field Fisher Waterhouse and head of their Information and Privacy Law Group.
He advises some of the world's leading companies on the adoption of global privacy strategies
and is closely involved in the development of the new EU data protection framework.
I have known Eduardo for many years, originally when he was a paralegal at Martineau Johnson
in Birmingham. That was probably 1995 or 1996! We met at meetings of the
Society for Computers and Law and then later he became a regular contributor to the
Internet Newsletter for Lawyers, always combining
the quality of his content with "readability".
I cannot think of anyone more qualified to write on these topics than Eduardo.
Last updated November 22nd 2013.
A new software offering for Solicitors but with a solid background..Insight Legal was launched in 2011, led by former
AlphaLAW Technical Director, Tim Smith, who was also subsequently Development Manager for IRIS Legal Solutions.
Tim and other members of the team have experience of a number of law firms and software companies
and have brought this knowledge to bear on developing a new suite of software and services for small
and medium sized law firms.
Insight Legal is a Legal Accounting and Practice Management system.
The screens are simple and intuitive without requiring hours of laborious configuration or days of
expensive training to understand. You can use the software straight out of the box.
The user can change the screen layout, add their logo, customise the screens, change the format
of matter references and generally make the system "fit" the firm.
The system generated reports are clear and concise, but also comprehensive - there are full lists of
features on the website.
Assistance is given with the migration of data from the existing system to the new system and the
company have experience of migrating many different systems.
Training and support are provided as needed.
Last updated November 14th 2013.
Conveyancing online! Law Society announces a new initiativeThe Law Society is currently developing an online
Conveyancing Portal to streamline the
conveyancing process and improve communication between solicitors, conveyancers, clients and stakeholders
including Land Registry and HMRC. The portal will effectively be a secure deal-room to communicate and
share documents, accessible by all parties with controlled access to view for clients and stakeholders.
The portal will be managed by the Law Society and all the information will be in one place. The
whole property chain will be accessible via the portal and other stakeholders - estate agents and so on -
will have appropriate controlled viewing access. All monies (stamp duty, mortgage fees and land registry
fees) will move through the system. Compliance and risk management features will be
embedded in the system. There are some stylish videos from Nicholas Fluck, Desmond Hudson and others,
at the above address to describe the project. There is no timescale attached yet but you can register
on the site to be kept informed and to give your views.
(There have been attempts to do something similar to this in the past, but they were probably ahead of
their time. It does seem to be the "right time", now, for the current initiative. We are all used
to online portals now!)
Last updated November 8th 2013.
More Competition pours in to the legal services market
The AA has become the latest company to enter the legal
market after being granted an alternative business structure (ABS) licence by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
The new business, a joint venture with solicitors Lyons Davidson, will start trading on 1 December and
will be limited at first to personal injury and other car accident claims.
The AA already offer
Legal Services providing online
legal documents but, once established, there will now be a fully fledged legal firm in operation.
The new firm will be called AA Law (no web site yet!).
Other major businesses to win ABS status (or applying for it) include Saga, Direct Line, BT,
Co-operative Legal Services Limited.
A full list of ABS firms (around 200?) can be found on the SRA's site
Last updated October 25th 2013.
Manchester Law Society plan to provide innovative new features
Manchester Law Society have chosen a web communication platform from
LegalRSS which will handle all web, mobile, enews, social sharing
and networking, including content sharing and multiple sites.
As well as sending more than 100,000 targeted enewsletters annually, MLS want to be able to update its website and to use social networking
quickly and easily. The ability to co-brand means MLS can also give a presence to
sponsors and advertisers where appropriate. They can also create bespoke mobile websites for user groups and the new MLS Student
mobile website is already proving popular.
The system is particular good at "segmentation", i.e. matching content provided to particular user groups.
For information about what MLS are doing, contact
Fran Eccles-Bech and for information on
LegalRSS or the white-label version
Last updated October 16th 2013.
I have recently been updating my pages for
Selling Legal Services and Legal Documents Online. There are many more non-regulated
suppliers of these "packaged" products than firms of solicitors doing it. The risk to a firm of solicitors in "getting it wrong" is far
greater than to an unregulated individual or small company. And perhaps the "packaged" products
are inherently low cost products and therefore developing these is not a sensible way for solicitors to spend their time. And
perhaps solicitors do not really want their clients to say "why are you charging so much for my employment contract (or lease, or will, or whatever)
when you are offering it online for much less"!
Last updated October 15th 2013.
I have recently updated these pages on my site:
Transcription and Digital Dictation Services and
Digital Dictation Equipment and Software.
There are a large number of suppliers on both these pages. It is a very competitive market!
Last updated October 7th 2013.
Good web design
Quill Pinpoint, the outsourced cashiering experts, have launched a very attractive new web site.
It is easy to find information on the two main offerings - the outsourced cashiering and the hosted legal accounts system for in-house cashiers.
There is lots of online interaction for users and potential users. Call back requests, licence requests and enquiries can now be e-submitted.
A substantial "resources" section provides access to data sheets, case studies, newsletters, Solicitors Accounts Rules and other basic
reference information. There is also an attractive slide show providing key selling points and showing Quill staff working on the outsourced material
and communicating with clients.
A new exhibition for solicitors and "legal professionals"
Prysm Group is launching a new event for the legal sector called
LegalEx, to take place on
15-16 May 2014 at Excel. It hopes to attract an estimated 2,500 solicitors and legal professionals over the two-day event.
It will be supported by The Law Society and will feature 90 seminars and 70 exhibiting firms. LegalEx will run alongside the Accountex show.
A feature called The Hub sitting between the two shows will allow solicitors and accountants to network.
(There is no mention of barristers in the description - the event appears to be just for Solicitors and people working for Solicitors.)
Last updated September 26th 2013.
DPS Software are offering a free e-book presenting the benefits of client portal solutions and
web-based collaborative working platforms which enable clients and fee earners to collaborate, exchange documents,
track and complete tasks in a simple, time-effective manner. The e-book explains the benefits of cloud computing (which provides
the infrastructure for the client portal) and what can be done with this type of solution. The client benefits from the portal and the firm gains
an important competitive advantage. The e-book is available for download
Last updated September 21st 2013.
Latest cloud product from document generation leader
HotDocs Ltd provides document generation technologies, resulting in intelligent templates
that guide the user through document creation. HotDocs is used by thousands of law firms, legal publishers, financial institutions and government bodies
to streamline the process of creating repeat documentation, in terms of reducing time spent, increasing efficiency, reducing risk and vastly
improving accuracy. The product is used internationally in the production of a wide range of documentation, such as employment contracts, bank
loans and sales contracts by a wide range of customers across more than 40 countries.
The latest product is HotDocs Cloud Services, a cloud-based platform that facilitates the embedding of HotDocs
automated document generation technologies into an organisation’s own process systems, such as a corporate website or a Business
Process Management (BPM) defined workflow. HotDocs Cloud Services is a subscription service that customers can start using immediately,
whilst always benefiting from having the latest HotDocs features available, with no need for upgrades or maintenance.
The Cloud Services platform delivers HotDocs document generation capabilities and tools to integrate with any application,
allowing customers to enhance their systems to better fit business needs.
Last updated September 19th 2013.
A course I really enjoyed (and found useful).
Conscious Solutions put on very good courses - I went to one last year. The latest course is
It's All About Conversion - whether
your website results in increased business. The same courses is being put on in Manchester, Solihull, Bristol and London on various dates in the middle of November.
Cost for the one day seminar is just £95 + VAT and the course qualifies fo 5.5 hours of CPD.
Last updated September 18th 2013.
Currently being updated but I need your help!
Legal Research Services (Publishers) Online covers the main legal publishers.
As well as the really big legal publishers, I also have sections for many of the
Specialist and Smaller Legal Publishers.
This is an ongoing project - do please let me know of any inaccuracies or omissions.
Last updated September 11th 2013.
Burnetts has become the first law firm in Cumbria to launch its own online market-place
Burnetts' Market Place providing downloadable, discounted legal documents to small businesses.
The site, which has a range of products including a social media policy, small employer’s pack and website compliance documents,
is designed for small businesses in Cumbria. Small businesses with fewer than 10 employees account for 85% of all the County’s enterprises.
The firm believes that many small businesses are looking for simplified documents at a cost more in keeping with their level of business.
The documents are guaranteed to be up to date, written by qualified solicitors, legally compliant in England and Wales and at discounted fees.
Documents are purchased using a virtual trolley and payment is securely handled via Paypal; buyers are then sent a confirmation email with a link
to downloadable documents, provided in Microsoft Word. The documents, which include editable fields for personalisation, are available from £35 to
£125 + VAT.
Last updated September 10th 2013.
I asked Paul Sandell of Thomson Reuters a number of questions about the newly acquired
Practical Law Company (PLC).
Delia. Thomson Reuters purchased Practical Law recently - what is actually happening?
Paul. Thomson Reuters acquired Practical Law Company (UK and US) in January 2013. In the UK, we received clearance from the
Office of Fair Trading on 28 March which enabled us to start the process of combining Practical Law UK with the existing UK & Ireland
Legal Solutions business of Thomson Reuters. The acquisition effectively brings Practical Law's market-leading know-how together
with best-in-breed books and looseleafs from Sweet & Maxwell (e.g. Chitty on Contracts, The White Book, Archbold on Criminal Law
and many others) and highly-regarded online databases Westlaw UK and Lawtel.
Delia. How does this new service fit in with Lawtel and with Westlaw UK? As a supplement or a rival?
Paul. As for all other practice areas, the know-how resources which comprise Practical Law's new Family service are complementary
to the primary sources and commentary in Lawtel and Westlaw UK.
Practical Law provides lawyers with the tools they need to work efficiently and effectively, including standard documents and clauses
with drafting notes, practice notes with clear explanations of how the law is applied in practice and regular legal updates (by e-mail or online)
highlighting developments in law, regulation and practice.
For times when lawyers need to research something in more depth, they can link through from references to legislative provisions or
judgments in Practical Law's resources to see the full text of the statute, statutory instrument or case report on Westlaw UK.
Delia. Is it primarily a case reporter or a precedent builder, or something else?
Paul. The core parts of Practical Law's Family service include:
A full range of practice notes, giving know-how and guidance on a wide range of family law topics, including nuptial agreements and relationship planning, cohabitation, family ADR, divorce, financial remedies, children and domestic violence.
Standard templates for family law documents including a fully interactive Financial Form E, a prenuptial agreement, a cohabitation agreement, financial consent orders and court forms.
E-mail updates compiled by our lawyers with analysis and commentary on new developments in family law.
Delia. What does the service offer which is not offered by the several (largely?) free services in family law e.g. from Bath Publishing and Jordans?
Paul. Practical Law's Family service has been created, and will be maintained, by a team of solicitors with a wealth of experience
gained from private practice.
The material prepared by our team has been augmented by contributions from nearly 90 contributors from leading sets of family barristers
and quality law firms. These include four Heads of Chambers and numerous other experts known for their expertise on specialist areas including
Fiona Hay at Harcourt Chambers who has written about pensions, Andrezej Bojarski who has written about trusts and Janet Bazley QC who has
written about relocation of children.
The team can also draw upon the wide expertise of the editors in the other Practical Law services including Dispute Resolution, Private Client,
Property and Pensions.
The service also benefits from a Consultation Board made up of some very eminent individuals in the field of family law comprising three judges,
four barristers and six solicitors.
Practical Law's Family service comprises around 950 resources of which around 850 are entirely new. These resources include practice notes,
standard documents (including letters and clauses) and editable court forms. All of these resources will be continually maintained and do not link to
underlying textbooks that are maintained less frequently.
The detailed linking to other Practical Law Materials and primary sources saves time and is easy to navigate.
Highlights of the service include:
a comprehensive standard precedent for a pre-nuptial agreement, prepared in collaboration with an expert advisory panel;
a comprehensive cohabitation agreement prepared in collaboration with a very senior QC;
a "shell" financial consent order with 90 plug-in standard clauses;
an interactive Form E financial statement which incorporates drafting notes and allows clients and third parties to add in information. This Form E tool is included in the service at no extra cost; and
a weekly current awareness email update
Delia. Is there a part of your service which is free?
Paul. No, Practical Law is a subscription service. Unlike certain free to view resources, our practice notes, standard documents and interactive
forms are all continually maintained to take account of developments in law, regulation or practice. Our subscribers know our resources are up to date
and trust us to get it right. Our reputation for quality and currency has been hard won over many years and is one in which we take great pride.
Our current awareness is prepared by experienced lawyers who filter out only those developments which will really make a difference to lawyers in
practice and we ensure that our resources reflect current practice through our regular contact with leading practitioners and advice from our
Last updated September 7th 2013.
Criminal Justice Degree Schools is a USA site
with information and resources on the best criminal justice schools and associated degrees, as well as profiles on 80+ criminal justice careers.
There are new articles published each week and an extensive section of
Criminal Justice Resources which would be a very
useful starting point for anyone looking to compare the UK and USA systems.
Slater & Gordon's blog is set up to cover many topics,
using a search process to identify (say) employment law, family law, personal injury and so on. The blog is lively and well presented.
Slater & Gordon was previously Russell Jones & Walker.
Last updated September 2nd 2013.
Law Society President speaks out for the European Convention on Human Rights in a letter to the Times
As the European Convention on Human Rights turns 60, Law Society president Nicholas Fluck and Sir Nicolas Bratza, president of the
British Institute of Human Right and former president of the European Court of Human Rights, call for greater recognition of the convention
and its British roots.
"Rather than generating rafts of litigation against the UK," they write, "the very few cases that have reached the European Court of Human Rights
have led to important and lasting changes: curbing stop and search powers, promoting equal treatment of same sex couples, regulating state
surveillance, upholding the global prohibition on torture, limiting indefinite retention of biometric data and ensuring safeguards to protect
children and vulnerable adults.
All too often the loudest voices in our debates focus on decrying the convention and its court. There is little recognition of the many ways
in which the convention has helped to build fairer and more cohesive countries across Europe, including the UK.
The UK’s leadership helped to set down legal protections of our fundamental human rights and freedoms; UK lawyers were at the
forefront of drafting the law, and the UK was the first country to ratify the convention.
Rather than squandering the legacy our postwar leaders worked so hard to build, now is the time to recognise and secure our human rights heritage."
You can see the Times letter
here but it is behind the Times paywall.
Last updated August 29th 2013.
Andrew Hogan's blog on legal costs provides information and posts
on this topic. Andrew has advised upon and argued costs cases in the county court, High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court,
as well as other tribunals including the Lands Tribunal. He is based at Ropewalk Chambers in Nottingham but
travels widely. He also provides a blog on
disability discrimination and other areas of law affecting disabled people.
Last updated August 27th 2013.
Dig a little deeper into the legal and political issues of today
Halsbury’s Law Exchange is legal think tank, hosted by LexisNexis.
It aims to communicate ideas on reform or legal direction to decision makers and the legal sector and promote debate through
papers, reports, events and media pieces.
As it says about itself "Through our legal white papers and current projects, it seeks to be a legal think tank in the true sense of the term;
to debate the legal issues of the day without political or commercial agenda and to influence and prompt change."
There are in-depth papers on most areas of law and an opportunity to comment and debate online.
Last updated August 26th 2013.
You may be following this already, but just in case you are not....
The Guardian Law Section is a selection from the main
Guardian news and editorial content related to law - and since the Guardian follows legal developments in considerable depth
(both from an individual citizen's viewpoint and form the viewpoint of society as a whole) this leads to quite a large section of the paper
ending up in the law section every day. As well as the basic presentation of legal news, there are key contents areas as follows:
A section on legal aid with particular coverage of current issues and limitations
A section called "Justice on Trial" covering legal systems and legal developments around the world
There is a major section for law students
A section created and edited by Joshua Rosenberg
A law blog from Fiona Baldwin
A particularly strong selection on Human Rights issues, with its own subsections: Human Rights Act, Strasbourg, Bill of Rights,
Privacy, Control Orders, Extradition, Torture and US Constitution
A law jobs section, including careers articles
An index of keywords, A to Z, which serves as a jumping off point for many or most legal topics.
You can obtain this information in a number of ways, whatever your selection of topics, and whatever equipment you are using.
Last updated August 22nd 2013.
Latest on GOV.UK
GOV.UK is the Government's over-arching portal for (eventually) all Government services and information.
This is designed to replace the hundreds of existing Government sites with a consistent interface, comprehensive search facilities and
user-focused experience. The process of moving sites onto the new portal started in late 2012 and is designed to take the best part of two years.
The "Services and information" list on the home page includes these (each of which have many more subdivisions and sub topics):
Driving and transport - Includes car tax, MOT and driving licences
Benefits- Includes tax credits, eligibility and appeals
Businesses and self-employed - Tools and guidance for businesses
Employing people - Includes pay, contracts and hiring
Passports, travel and living abroad - Includes renewing passports and travel advice by country
Education and learning - Includes student loans and admissions
Working, jobs and pensions - Includes holidays and finding a job
Housing and local services - Owning or renting and council services
Crime, justice and the law - Legal processes, courts and the police
Money and tax - Includes debt and Self Assessment
Births, deaths, marriages and care - Parenting, civil partnerships, divorce and Lasting Power of Attorney
Disabled people - Includes carers, your rights, benefits and the Equality Act
Citizenship and living in the UK - Voting, community participation, life in the UK, international projects.
Under "Crime, justice and the law" (subtitled "legal processes, courts and the police") are the following sections:
Courts, sentencing and tribunals - Attending courts, paying fines, appealing a sentence and tribunals
Prisons and probation - Sentencing, probation and support for families of prisoners
Reporting crimes and getting compensation - Including criminal injuries compensation and reporting suspected crimes
Young people and the law - Includes legal rights, youth offending teams and crime prevention
Your rights and the law - Includes being arrested, cautions, discrimination and consumer rights
However, most of the information required by lawyers is still on the previous
Ministry of Justice site including:
Daily court lists
Employment Tribunal guidance
Claims management regulation
Forms, including Court forms,Tribunals, Criminal injuries compensation, Mental Capacity Act, asting Power of Attorney forms
Statistics relating to courts, crime, prisons,etc
All this will presumably be moving over to the GOV.UK site although the timing is not clear.
Last updated August 20th 2013.
An important blog on Constitutional law
UK Constitutional Law Group (UKCLG) is the British section of the
International Association of Constitutional Law. Formed in 2003, the UK Group
is an independent association, jointly convened by Andrew Le Sueur and Sebastian Payne. The group runs seminars and conferences
and also provides the
UK Constitutional Law Group Blog with frequent and detailed posts.
Last updated August 10th 2013.
Interesting new book on personal injury from one of our authors
Surviving Jackson - Developing a Profitable Personal Injury Practice for the Future is a new book from a personal injury lawyer, Jeff Zindani, and Prof Dominic Regan
(adviser to Sir Rupert Jackson).
The book highlights the practical changes required in light of the Jackson reforms. Key industry experts help the PI lawyer to make sense of the changes
and to understand how to respond through realigning the business to the new market conditions.
There are over 10 chapters (250 pages) with up to date analysis of the law, useful advice, case studies, worked examples of business
models and advice on an automated marketing system.
You can purchase the book (£99.99) from the site.
Last updated July 29th 2013.
BAILII wins grant from Legal Education Foundation (My thanks to Nick Holmes' blog at Binary Law for this story)
BAILII is one of the first six organisations to win a grant from the Legal Education Foundation which was launched on 10 July.
The Foundation is the charity established following the sale of the College of Law last year.
It has some £200 million to invest, making it one of the largest foundations in the sector.
BAILII applied for funds to enable it to cover the initial training and year 1 salary costs for a Deputy Director (to assist Joe Ury) and a part-time fund raiser
(which latter post should be self-financing after the first year).
The other grantees so far are Advocacy Training Council (how to deal with vulnerable witnesses), Galleries of Justice (using courtrooms to teach children about law),
Law Centre Network (legal advice for those who are unable to pay for it), LawWorks (to support, promote and encourage a commitment to pro bono work),
Pro Bono Community (two trainees are establishing courses to pre-train law students to give advice in clinics about welfare) and
Pathways Phase 3 (encouraging young people from less socially advantaged backgrounds to enter the law).
Last updated July 27th 2013.
Important blog on Immigration
Free Movement is a blog from Colin Yeo, a specialist immigration law barrister based at
Renaissance Chambers in London. He has been practising in immigration law for thirteen years and previously worked for
the Immigration Advisory Service and Refugee Legal Centre. The blog provides updates and commentary on immigration and asylum law and
draws on the experience of several specialist immigration barristers in Renaissance Chambers.
Last updated July 16th 2013.
On a personal note...
I attended a very good course last week on "Social Media for Business" from
Premier IT. An excellent and knowledgeable teacher, interesting fellow course mates and
good material have definitiely given me a bit of an impetus in that direction. Their range of training courses includes
Project Management, Service Management, Social media, Microsoft Applications, Desktop Publishing, Internet and Web Design,
IT Technical and bespoke training programmes. Based in Russell Square, in London, they are easily accessible and it was (for me)
a day well spent. Follow me @deliavenables!
Last updated July 15th 2013.
Congratulations to the new President of the Law Society, Nicholas Fluck, of
Stapleton & Son, based in Stamford, Lincolnshire.
Nick was elected to the Law Society Council in 2005 and previously chaired the Society's Technology and Law Reference Group.
His election augurs well both for High Street firms across the country, whose importance will doubtless never be forgotten
in the year ahead, and for the role and importance of IT in the legal world to be recognised.
Last updated July 14th 2013.
The Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) was established in 2009 to provide transparency
through certification to a Code of Practice for credible online Cloud service providers and to assist end users in determining core
information necessary to enable them to adopt these services. It is a not for profit company limited by guarantee, and is an industry
body that champions and advocates the adoption and use of Cloud-based services by businesses and individuals.
They provide a
Code of Practice that provides transparency of Cloud services such that consumers can have clarity and confidence
in their choice of provider. There is a list (with useful details) of
certified organisations and also a list of organisations
currently undergoing certification.
Lawcloud is the first Practice Management Software provider (i.e. in the legal market)
to be awarded certification (see
here for details).
Last updated July 10th 2013.
Increased interest in online dispute resolution....
Modria builds online dispute resolution systems.
Companies use Modria’s software to resolve customer issues quickly and fairly, which saves support costs and improves customer loyalty.
Modria is a spin off from eBay/PayPal, with a perpetual license to the Community Court platform that powers ebaycourt.com and paypal-court.com.
The Modria platform is the leading online dispute resolution system in the world, enabling businesses and government agencies of
any size to resolve customer problems swiftly and fairly.
Modria has recently announced that it has closed a $5 million dollar Series A investment round led by Foundry Group.
There is a blog on these topics on their site.
Last updated July 4th 2013.
An initiative from Direct Access barristers
CallMyBarrister is a free online "community resource" that enables direct access barristers to
tender for clients’ work. The website allows a user to post their legal issue anonymously and then registered barristers
reply directly offering their services and effectively tender for the work.
Only general facts are submitted about the case and all correspondence is confidential.
Once the barrister and client decide to exchange details, the correspondence is closed and they continue to work in the normal way.
It is free to access for the public and does not cost barristers anything to register and to use.
The site is the brainchild of leading barrister David Malone.
Last updated July 1st 2013.
Annual awards from BIALL
The British and Irish Association of Law Librarians (BIALL) recently celebrated three award winners at their Annual Dinner in Glasgow.
Catherine McArdle, Deputy Librarian of
Lincoln's Inn Library received the Wildy's Law Librarian of the Year award (see picture of the award
here). Catherine received praise from her colleagues for her knowledge and
professional approach to her work, and her commitment to BIALL through her role on the BIALL Council, participation on various committees, and organisation of many courses
and social events.
On the same evening, the Association awarded the Supplier of the Year Award to
Wildy & Sons, legal booksellers since 1830, and the Legal Journals Award went to
Property Law Journal by Legalease.
Following a survey of BIALL members, Wildy's came top with an average score of 4.73 out of 5 and were described as a joy to work with – they provide excellent
customer service and their website was highly praised. Property Law Journal is valued greatly by its readership for its good quality articles, coverage of topical issues,
relevance and currency.
Last updated June 17th 2013.
Interesting new site on property law
Jonny Law Online is a very useful site about property and
property law maintained by Jonathan Achampong, a conveyancing solicitor with a major firm, Ashfords.
There are sections on conveyancing, lease extensions, leasehold, enfranchisement and commercial property.
There are also featured articles on news items and topics of current interest.
Last updated June 15th 2013.
UK Criminal Law blog was set up by 3 barristers from
2 Dr. Johnson’s Buildings
after a discussion on Twitter concerning inaccurate reports of criminal cases in the press, the lack of public understanding of the criminal
justice system and the number of unlawful sentences handed out by the courts. It was noted that many news reports, and consequently
discussions had by the public concerning cases of interest, are based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the law
(and on numerous occasions, inaccurate facts). In addition, it appeared that many solicitors, barristers and even judges,
make fundamental errors of law. The site contains a major source of information about the court system and the legal system generally,
particularly with respect to criminal law. There are also headnotes from important Court of Appeal and Supreme Court
explaining the impact of the decision. Where possible, they also provide the sentencing remarks from the Magistrates’ and
Crown Courts, together with a short report stating the facts and the outcome.
Last updated May 15th 2013.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
has recently published advice on "Bring your own device " (BYOD) on its website
The introduction says "Bring your own device is a term which refers to when employees use their personal
computing devices (typically smart phones and tablets) in the workplace.
Permitting devices which you do not have sufficient control over to connect to the corporate IT systems
can introduce a range of security vulnerabilities and other data protection concerns if not correctly managed.
This guidance explores what you need to consider if permitting the use of personal devices to process personal
data for which you are responsible."
The guidance (a 13 page pdf document) looks at the risks and benefits of doing this and suggests some of the
topics which should be included in a BYOD policy.
A summary of the document is provided by
Law Now (CMS Cameron McKenna's information site)
Last updated May 5th 2013.
Two new Legal Apps launched by Irish firm
Irish Data Privacy Law
has been launched by leading Irish firm
The Irish Data Protection Commissioner supports this useful tool as it is aimed at senior management,
privacy law professionals and in-house lawyers who need to respond to an increasing number of data protection
requirements and challenges that data security presents to businesses today. The app is designed to allow
users to access up to date, concise information on data privacy law generally as well as providing access
to the relevant Irish and European acts and regulations. It also includes an index of privacy law terms.
It is free to download to iPhone and iPad
The firm has committed itself to keep the App updated with all future legal developments in the
area coming down the tracks at an Irish and European level.
The new app is part of a suite of online tools which have been developed by the Firm over the past year,
including Irish HR Law A-Z, Ireland’s first dedicated law app which provides HR professionals, in-house
lawyers and senior executives with accessible information on employment law facts and regulations,
free to download
As well as the A-Z of HR law terminology, there are interactive calculators on adoptive leave, maternity leave and redundancy.
This App comes from A&L Goodbody's
Employment Law practice.
Last updated April 12th 2013.
The Ministry of Justice web site has moved to GOV.UK.
The Ministry of Justice web site has now (apparently) moved to
GOV.UK. However, all the areas of interest to lawyers (as distinct
from "ordinary people") still seem to be on the old Justice site, e.g. Procedure rules, Daily court lists,
Prison finder, Court fees, Employment Tribunal guidance and Claims management regulation. I cannot
find these sections on GOV.UK. For example, if you go to
GOV.UK and search for "procedure rules" you get things like rules
for cyclists. There is a section on GOV.UK for "Crime, Justice and the Law" but it does not seem to
have any of the things which lawyers would actually be looking for. If you go to the section for Crime,
Justice and the Law" on the GOV.UK site and search for "procedure rules" you still get the rules for cyclists.
For the time being, it might be better to continue to use the old Justice link and work from there.
Of course, I could be wrong.... or just missing something..... Can anyone help?
Last updated April 11th 2013.
The latest group of Direct Access Barristers will provide some competition to solicitors, looking for clients!
myBARRISTER is a new online service that gives
people and businesses direct access to the specialised skills of barristers, helping them resolve
legal issues, defend against prosecution, take legal action or simply providing specialist legal
advice on a particular situation.
myBARRISTER is the idea of, and is funded by, Ronald DeKoven of DeKoven Chambers, Lincoln's Inn.
Here is how it works (as described on the site):
1.Use the search function to select a nearby barrister who's a specialist in your problem.
2.Use your first free phone call to talk through your problem.
3.Agree a price and commission your barrister to provide a legal opinion for you.
4.They will ask you a lot of questions about your situation and will then review the law and write up their opinion.
5.You meet with your barrister or speak on the phone to go through the opinion and to agree your next steps.
Last updated March 30th 2013.
The Supreme court is now on YouTube! My thanks to Amanda Millmore of
Legal Training for this information.
The Supreme Court has launched its own
YouTube channel showing videos of judgments being handed down.
There are around 30 judgments on there now, from 2013, as well as some older ones from the latter part of 2012.
And whilst on the subject of the Supreme Court, there is an interesting history and analysis on the Guardian's Law Section here -
The UK supreme court: an interactive history.
The history starts in 1399 (the time of Henry Bollingbroke) and continues to the present day, with more recent periods described
with a Summary of the key judgments emanating from that time.
Last updated March 20th 2013.
The Precedent Store is a new microsite from infolaw which
focusses exclusively on legal precedent documents on CD and online.
There is full information on a wide range of Precedents on CD, which may be purchased from the store online;
plus information and links to Online Services for law firms and businesses and legal forms.
The site has been created by Nick Holmes of
infolaw. Nick has been involved with developing, producing and supplying
legal documents on disk, CD and online for more than 25 years.
He provided the first online forms service, Nick's infolaw Formfinder, and then the comprehensive Lawfinder in 2001.
He produced one of the first UK legal weblogs and the first legal metadata webfeed in the UK in 2004. He was also
among the first legal commentators in the UK to take full account of social networking for lawyers.
Associated with The Precedent Store, Nick is writing a
Precedent Store Blog which will cover everything to do with
legal documents: new products, developments in document production and automation, online services and more.
His first post covers Precedents on Disk (way back). Just for fun he lists the dozens of formats in use then;
if you were there in the early days, have a look at this (and be grateful that we live "now").
Last updated March 17th 2013.
Visualfiles was acquired by LexisNexis
Butterworths in 2006 and rebranded as LexisNexis Visualfiles. Before that, it was Solicitec, one of the first companies
to develop case management software. The changes in identity have blurred the
capabilities (and pedigree) of Visualfiles but I understand that a new development and marketing "push" is now
being given to the product. Indeed, during 2012, adoption of the product grew substantially, crossing the 25,000
licences mark across 360 sites - possibly the largest installed user base in the UK.
The technology can handle 2000 plus concurrent users, across multiple sites but is also available "out of the box"
for smaller firms. For ease of use Visualfiles is delivered inside Microsoft Outlook.
It provides a file centric view of documents, emails, contacts and standard precedents in a simple file handler
Last updated March 7th 2013.
Extensive information on various divorce matters
May May & Merrimans of Gray's Inn, London, provide two
specialist sites www.prenups.uk.com and
www.leavetoremove.co.uk with extensive information on these topics.
The site on prenuptual agreements aims to provide clients considering any such
agreements with relevant information, whether they are the financially stronger
or financially weaker partner. The site sets out the current law on prenups and good practice requirements to
be observed, so as to have the best chance of such agreements being upheld by the court in the event of a
divorce, as well as outlining possible changes to the law to be made following the final report which is
awaited from the Law Commission on whether prenups should be made legally enforceable.
The site on international leave to remove provides necessary information to parents who wish to relocate
abroad with their children after the breakdown of a relationship, or to oppose an application by the other
parent for leave to remove the children of the relationship abroad. The web site covers the current law on
leave to remove, an outline of the court process, advice to parents on how to prepare their case (in support
of an application for leave to remove or in opposition to such an application), and alternatives to the court
process (family mediation and collaborative law).
Last updated February 25th 2013.
Are you looking for some financial assistance for post graduate study of the law? Here is a handy reference.
The Law Society provides
a very useful summary of the various grants, loans, awards and scholarships available for the post graduate
study of law. In particular, it describes the Law Society's own Diversity Access Scheme...
"The Diversity Access Scheme (DAS) offers assistance with Legal Practice Course (LPC) fees to exceptional
individuals who face or have overcome exceptional obstacles to qualify as a solicitor. Obstacles may be of
a financial, social, educational or personal nature, or might relate to a disability or chronic health
condition that makes the goal of qualifying as a solicitor a particularly challenging one."
Applications are now open and will close on 29th March.
This is the only source of financial assistance for legal education fees available from the Law Society,
so no funding is available from the Law Society for the law degree, GDL, CPE, LLM or any other courses.
However, a number of other possible sources of finance for post graduate study of law are described on this page.
Last updated February 15th 2013.
Impossible - or...?
Should the Law
Society set up a Bank? is an interesting (and challenging) idea put forward by Gill Steel in
Gill's blog. Gill runs
Lawskills, a consultancy and training company which helps
practitioners develop their skills in the areas of Wills, Probate, Trusts and Tax.
She says "The service which many law firm clients receive from retail banking is poor.
Loans to meet IHT charges in an estate are pretty much a thing of the past; the recognition of different
powers of attorney and their use in managing a client’s money is generally poor to abysmal and there are
increasingly cases of frustration in not being able to satisfy correct Money Laundering procedures.
We have had, amongst other things, the mis-selling of protection insurance, the unwillingness of some banks
to lend to customers and ridiculously low rates of interest on funds."
The LawSkills website is a mine of information for the Wills, Probate, Trust and Tax profession
providing technical advice and commentary through articles, glossary, Gill's blog and podcasts.
Last updated February 8th 2013.
Frugal Dad is a USA site providing a database of
USA colleges offering online education. It allows the viewer (the Frugal Dad or the potential student) to search
for affordable colleges throughout the USA. It lists the Institutions across the USA together with the fees for
in-state and out-of-state students.
Currently, many universities, such the University of Washington, Maryland and Houston have themselves listed this
resource as useful for people who are not only looking to further their education but also have to finance it.
There are also some interesting facts about online education. According to the Sloan Consortium (a well respected USA institute),
there were over 6 million people in the USA enrolled in at least one online course in 2010 - and doubtless the numbers
have gone up considerably since then.
The site is not specifically related to legal education and you cannot use it to select legal courses online,
but since it links to the Colleges and Universities themselves, you could research this further for any particular
institution in which you were interested.
PS This site allows an interesting comparison with UK fees. Many USA Universities charge fees of $30,000 to $40,000,
often (for the more famous institutions) with no differences between in-state and out-of-state students.
Last updated February 7th 2013.
Relaunch of an interesting online journal
UpperCase is a very interesting journal from
Anya Designs. Anya started life as an electronic publishing
company in 1996, working with both Blackstones and Jordan Publishing to produce electronic books for the Psion 5.
Currently they publish the Criminal Offences Handbook, edited by Mike Gribbin, both as a book and a digital publication
and various other works.
They also write software for case management and legal accounting, with 350 firms as users, and generally
provide software tools for lawyers. The journal, also edited by Mike Gribbin, covers Case Law, Civil Law, Civil Liberties, Criminal Justice,
Law Updates, Legal Aid, Legal IT, ilaw and Legal Practice Management.
This is a serious journal and well worth a look from lawyers (and it is free). It is also well produced
and attractive to look at. You can read it online or register to receive it by email.
Important Exhibition on IT for Lawyers - and it's free
The 13th Annual Legal IT Business Show
will take place on 5-6 March 2013 at the Business Design Centre in London.
This is the largest exhibition in Europe on Software and Services for the Legal Profession with
60+ exhibitors demonstrating the latest developments to over 1100 senior managers
and buyers from law firms and in-house legal departments.
There will be product launches and seminars on topical areas of interest.
There will be 128 "Showcases" Across 8 Key Technology Themes, running throughout the day in their own enclosed pods
within the exhibition hall. These are small group discussions with limited numbers, each lasting For 30 minutes.
For the latest programme and to register for your free visitor pass visit the site, as above.
Last updated February 5th 2013.
Extensions to the very popular Court Search app
Court Search from CPD provider
Legal Training in conjunction with
MillieSoft has been extended for 2013.
Features include Court addresses, maps, directions and contact details as well as live Crown Court information,
and daily lists for the High Court and above.
The iPhone and iPad version now contains details of Tribunals and their lists too.
A new feature for 2013 across all devices is the addition of car parking information near to each Court.
The app is also available for Android phones and Blackberry devices. Links to
purchase the app in each of these versions are provided on the Court Search site, as above.
Last updated January 24th 2013.
Big news on the legal software supplier frontTikit has been taken over by
Tikit itself took over TFB a few years ago, one of the leading suppliers of software for lawyers and, as
TikitTFB has continued to be a leader in that market,
suppying legal software (particularly Partner for Windows) to over 600 firms across the UK.
Now it will be part of a group of six separately managed businesses within BT Enterprises,
a division of BT Retail. Each of these businesses will maintain the autonomy and entrepreneurial spirit of a standalone business.
Last updated January 23rd 2013.
Latest legal app, a legal e-resource locator, named LawSauceLawSauce is a new legal app written by Ruth Bird (University of Oxford, Bodleian Law Librarian)
and Natalie Wieland (Legal Research Skills Adviser, Melbourne Law School). It is an
e-resource locator developed to quickly locate the right legal web resource for legal tasks, which can otherwise be a very complex task.
LawSauce includes over 7,000 records covering case law and legislative sources for many jurisdictions.
It is organised by broad geographical region, such as North America or Asia. The sources are then arranged by their jurisdictional location.
For the UK & Europe region, links are to the EU, as well as to each individual country in greater Europe, extending to Russia and
the CIS in the east and Ireland in the west. The app can be downloaded from the
Android Store or the
Supreme Court warns of 'uncertainty' if legal privilege extended to non-lawyers (see
Solicitors Journal for full article)Parliament, and not the courts, should decide on whether legal advice privilege (LAP) should be extended to non-lawyers,
the Supreme Court has decided, 5-2.
Four justices agreed with Lord Neuberger that extending the principle to accountants and other professionals would
“carry with it an unacceptable risk of uncertainty and loss of clarity in a sensitive area of law”.
Lords Sumption and Clarke dissented, on the grounds that English courts had always taken a “functional approach” to LAP.
Last updated January 20th 2013.
IRIS Legal, a leading provider of legal software, has launched a new user group
IRIS Legal User Group (ILUG) to provide a knowledge sharing forum for its customers and to collaborate with them on existing services and
new product development. Over 600 of its users have already registered, including solicitors, barristers, in-house and
legal forms customer bases. There will also be sub-groups around products, specialist areas or common interest groups
such as cashiers, marketing, etc.
Do you want to go back a little further? Please see
New from 2012,
New from 2011,
New from 2010,
New from 2009 and
New from 2008.