Dear Members,

 

Thank you to all of you that have renewed your membership to the Society - and hello to new members, we are delighted to have you!  A pretty full bulletin this time and plenty of attachments for you - but the MOST IMPORTANT (to us) information is our up-coming AGM.  It is to be held on Tuesday 17th May 2016, once again at The Mews in Southend.  After the meeting, we will be staying for dinner and would very much like you to join us.  The meeting will start at 5.45 for 6pm.  We hope that many of you will be able to join us to conduct the business of the society and to confirm our new Committee.  If any of you would like to take a more active role - then we always welcome new committee members...(ed – just in case there’s someone out there!)

 

A quick note as well to say thank you to all who attended our quiz way back in January.  We’ve received a letter from the Royal London Hospital, thanking us for the £180 donation (see attached!).  We hope you all had a lovely evening.

 

Finally, we say farewell and thanks to several committee members. Most significantly, Brian Hughes is finally, actually (he assures us!) retiring.  He has worked tirelessly for us for a very long time and his reports and contribution to the Society will be greatly missed.  Midway through the year Paul Whight retired from practice and the committee. He served as President in 2004/05 and remained on the committee, serving most recently as criminal law sub-committee chairman. His contributions were always pertinent and we thank him for his contribution over many years. Anna Donovan, our regional representative has also moved on as the Law Society have restricted their Relationship Management team and we now welcome Mark Hudson as our local rep.  He can be contacted on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

UPDATE – April 2016

 

Events

 

Tuesday 17th May 2016 – SOSDLS AGM. Attracts 1 CPD point. AGM at 6pm, followed by dinner to be held at The Mews (2 Nelson Mews, Southend. SS1 1AL).  Formal notice to follow shortly. 

 

Friday 8th July 2016 – Annual Champagne Party at The Lawn.  Need we say more (well, yes. But not yet!). 

 

Monday 18th April – free workshop on sustainability and the business benefits for Law firms run by the LSA and hosted by Slaughter & May.

 

Local Members Update

 

We were sorry to learn of the death on 9th April of Jim Taylor after a long battle against cancer.  He came down from Yorkshire to take Articles with his uncle Norman of Barnes & Taylor in the early 1970s and after qualification undertook a wide range of practice including crime, matrimonial, accident claims and even some conveyancing.  In 1984 he joined Law, Hurst & Taylor and for several years served on the local Law Society committee as Litigation sub-committee chairman.  After returning, for a while, to his native Yorkshire, he sat for some years as a District Judge at Cambridge and nearby Courts. With his breadth of knowledge and experience, practical judgment and common sense he was well qualified for such a position.


Criminal

It was recently announced that the upgrading of IT in England and Wales courts will be complete by 2020.  HMCTS has been granted £700m from the Treasury to overhaul courts and tribunals and modernise the service.  Wi-Fi is now installed in all criminal courts with white screens and 'Click Share' technology available at all sites.  Magistrates will be equipped with iPads in the next six months, and the courts agency is currently working on systems to transfer electronic data from the Crown Prosecution Service to magistrates’ courts. Pleas online will also be extended across the country after a test scheme.

 

Justice minister Shailesh Vara has told dissenting MPs that the government is not going to change its mind on plans to shut 86 courts across England and Wales.  (ed - Mind you, they said that about the new crime contracts too…)


There is a new practice note setting out the duties and burdens affecting criminal solicitors arising from the Criminal Procedure Rules 2015 (the CPR).

Conveyancing

The Law Society has published new guidance on the implications of consumer protection regulations on conveyancing practice. This has major implications for all conveyancers.  We attach a summary for your information.


HMRC has advised that VAT will be chargeable on CON29R and CON29O applications.


As I’m sure you busy conveyancers are aware, from 1st April 2016 there are higher rates of SDLT for purchases of additional residential properties, such as second homes/buy to let. These are 3% above current rates, payable on the total price paid for the property.


Family

The Law Society has welcomed the Court of Appeal ruling that government changes to legal aid for victims of domestic violence are unlawful.  The potentially life-saving ruling comes a year after the High Court rejected a legal challenge from the charity Rights of Women over the lawfulness of new rules that require victims of domestic violence to provide a prescribed form of evidence in order to apply for family law legal aid.

 

Private Client

 

There is a new practice note on Fiduciary roles and retirement or departure from practice by a private client practitionerMany practitioners agree to take on a range of fiduciary roles, such as:  trusteeships, executorships,  LPAs, EPAs, etc. If, while working at a firm, you agree to take on a fiduciary role, you should be aware that when you leave that firm, you will have to deal with a number of complex issues arising from your role.  There is a new practice note available addressing this.

 

General

 

The Law Society website can now be customized for your viewing pleasure!  Sign up here: www.lawsociety.org.uk/log-in/ to pick and choose what you view!

The latest summary from the Law Society Council is attached, along with the CEO’s latest update and the President’s report to the Council meeting as well.



What about Brexit?  With the EU referendum taking place in June, here is a reminder of the key issues in the debate. The legal services sector would be disproportionately disadvantaged compared to the whole UK economy if the UK were to leave the European Union, according to economic analysis commissioned by the Law Society. The headline findings are that: -  The legal sector would continue to grow, but the rate of growth would be affected by a UK withdrawal from the EU.  The negative effects on growth in the legal services sector compared with the UK economy as a whole are due to the sector's reliance on intermediate demand from sectors which are likely to be adversely affected by a UK withdrawal from the EU, such as financial services and the scale of those negative effects would depend on withdrawal negotiations and subsequent UK government policy actions.

The Law Society has issued a Key facts document, which can be found here: http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/policy-campaigns/public-affairs/our-current-work/legal-profession-and-the-eu/


With thanks to Brian Hughes, we attach for pure historical interest, our local Law Society’s reponse to the 1976 Royal Commission.  Although we don’t have the questions they are responding too, it does make for interesting reading!


Interested in apprenticeships?  Have a view? The Law Society are seeking views from the membership. You can send your views to this email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Have a view on client accounts? The Law Society would like to hear from you.  We attach their discussion paper for your consideration.  They would particularly like to know if members agree that:

-          solicitors' client accounts pose no more risk than third party managed accounts; given the option, solicitors are unlikely to use alternatives to client accounts; and

-          there could be significant unintended consequences associated with even a permissive change; for example, there could be an unwelcome impact on the solicitors' Compensation Fund.

Please respond by 6th May 2016.

 

There’s a new Practice Note available on Closing files. It’s all about establishing good processes for orderly file closure is central to running an efficient practice, managing risk (Chapter 7 of the SRA Code) and fulfilling your client care obligations (Chapter 1 of the SRA Code). 

Law Society Council elections are fast approaching.  If you’d like to be nominated, you have until Wednesday 20th April to do so! We understand that Tony Fisher will be standing again for our region.   The Law Society are also seeking new members for some of their technical Committee.  They seek exceptional solicitors whose skills, experience, enthusiasm and knowledge of their particular area of law can make a difference.  More details of the roles and how to apply are here: http://jobs.lawgazette.co.uk/job/401378/law-society-committee-member-vacancies/


Excellence Awards – the nominations for the Excellence awards are open. Do you know of a colleague who has excelled this year? Local Law Societies can passport entries Solicitor of the Year (Private Practice), Solicitors of the Year (In House) and Solicitor Advocate of the Year.  The closing date for nominations is 27 May 2016.  We’re happy to provide more information if needed.

The Law Society is looking to recruit ten new Social Mobility Ambassadors for 2016. They would like applications from solicitors who have faced and overcome socio-economic barriers to pursue their legal education and career and who are passionate about social mobility and fair access to the profession.

 

We do try and get everything right in this bulletin - but it is meant as an update only and we urge every member to make their own enquiries rather than rely definitively on something we've written. If you do require clarification, then feel free to email us and we'll be happy to try and help.

Committee Members
President – Keith Simpson; Vice-President – Jeffrey Conway; Secretary - Liz Connolly; Treasurer - Aidan O'Donoghue; Immediate Past President: Brian Hughes MBE; Conveyancing - Eddie Lee; Civil Litigation - Jerry Nathan; Criminal Litigation – vacant; Press& Public Relations - vacant; Parliamentary Liaison - Andrew Hurrell; Young Solicitors Representative - Rachael Haine; Entertainment – Glen Bartlett; Education and Training – vacant; Regional Representative – Mark Hudson; Law Society Council Member - Tony Fisher; Ordinary Members: Paul Fenton, Greg Hunter, George Kloosman.

To contact any member of the Committee, please contact the Secretary in the first instance (by replying to this email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.