Monday, July 29, 2013

Book Recommendation: The Art of Justice: The Judge's Perspective

This book presents a unique and intriguing collection of drawings of courtroom scenes. Entering the courtroom wearing his robe, Judge Pierre Cavellat literally had a secret up his sleeve. Hidden in it were pens and pencils, which he used to sketch the scenes he observed from his bench. Throughout a 40-year judicial career in one of France's more important regional appellate courts, Cavellat produced hundreds of illuminating drawings and paintings depicting the court proceedings but also the main actors: the prosecutors, defence counsel, his fellow judges, the defendants, witnesses, policemen, the general public, as well as the courtroom itself and its architecture. The resulting vivid and uncensored impressions give an unprecedented insight into how a judge perceives his profession and the institution of justice as a whole. Given the scarcity of written autobiographies by judges, and their reluctance to lay bare their inner feelings and thinking, the images reveal, in a candid and immediate fashion, the deeply hidden emotions, ambiguities and fantasies of a judge going about his work. The author, a judge herself, interprets the images through the lens of her own judicial experience, exploring how judges think and act and how their thinking is constructed through their education, professional training, gender and class. In doing so she exposes how personal background, history and experience play an additional, sometimes conflicting, role in 'judgecraft'. While relevant to both practitioners and students of law this book should also appeal to the wider public.

Available from Amazon

Monday, July 22, 2013

Book Recommendation: Anonymous Lawyer

A wickedly funny novel about a high-powered lawyer whose shockingly candid blog about life inside his firm threatens to destroy him.

Available from Amazon

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Recommending Pete Bland Sports for all your running needs

If you're into surfing, you can't really go wrong by asking surfers about equipment (and for what it's worth, I'd ask Tim Heyland of Tiki who are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. It's just the same with running and for what it's worth I couldn;tr recommend the running shop Pete Bland Sports more highly. I first went there in the 1980s when fell-running in the Dales and had my first pair of Walsh trainers. They're still going strong these days and I'm pleased to say still selling those excellent Walsh shoes as well as a huge range of other brands. The shop is based in Kendal in Cumbria and is very clearly run by runners for runners. Though their background seems to be fell-running it's definitely a shop for all runners. You can order online or by giving them a call and having a chat to their super-helpful and friendly staff before buying.

What sort of things can I claim for in a personal injury claim

Brought to you by our friends at Geoffrey Leaver Accident Claims Solicitor

People are always reading or hearing about accident claims and how much so and so managed to recover in a particular case. But it's not always clear to people what exactly people are in fact claiming for. This article provides an introduction to the types of claim which can be made.

Pain, suffering and loss of amenity
One of the main parts of an accident claim is often that for pain, suffering and loss of amenity. This is basically the personal injury element of the claim and there are set guidelines and cases which the lawyers follow in determining how much an injury is worth. Generally, they don't tend to be worth as much as people might expect and usually this is in the region of a few thousand (and sometimes just a few hundred) pounds unless the injury is particularly serious.

Loss of earnings
Sometimes one of the biggest parts of a claim can be loss of earnings. The general rule is that when someone has been negligently injured by another the law tries to put them back in the same position (financially at least) as they would have been had the accident not occurred. So if you lost earnings or are going to lose earnings in the future then a claim can be made. So, too, if simply your capacity to earn has diminished.

Cost of care
People can claim for the cost of professional care both in the past and also any that may be needed into the future. In certain circumstances they can also claim compensation for voluntary care which is given or will be given in the future and this is always something which is worth investigating further.

Damage to a car
If your car has been damaged then you can claim the cost of repair although if the car is a write-off then you can claim the pre-accident value of the car (possibly less the amount it's worth after the accident).

Financial expenses
If a particular injury causes someone to be out of pocket or again is likely to do so in the future then this is also usually claimable. This might include things such as the cost of a gardener or certain medical expenses and the like.

There are particular rules for claiming a small amount of interest and again it is always worth investigating this generally smaller head of damage.

Other heads of damage
There are various other heads of damage which might sometimes arise but the above does provide a good basic introduction to some of the major types of claim.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Graduate solicitors: specialities and top tips

Brought to you by our friends at Birketts family solicitors

If you are seeking a profession in the field of law, you may have considered becoming a solicitor – but what exactly does this involve and what can you specialise in?

In a nutshell, solicitors supply expert legal support and advice to individuals, groups, private companies or public sector organisations in a number of areas. Budding solicitors need to select an area of expertise. You can choose to protect the rights of individuals by ensuring they receive compensation in the event of unfair treatment by public or private bodies or you can focus on commercial work which involves helping new enterprises, resolving business-related disputes and imparting advice concerning corporate transactions.
Personal issues is a popular specialism and can consist of personal injury claims, landlord and tenant agreements, the buying and selling of residential property and wills and probate. Moreover, with 42% of marriages ending in divorce (2010 statistics), divorce and family matters is an increasingly sought-after specialism.

The latter entails advising on the practical issues associated with the breakdown of a marriage and providing expert guidance to allow clients to make informed decisions. There are opportunities across a wealth of companies to go down this route, from big London firms to branches of established regional firms. We found the latter a great option and discovered Birketts family solicitors in Chelmsford when searching for leading firms. Their website will give you a good overview of the area in which you could work and is perfectly designed for those seeking legal aid.

Choosing a specialism you are passionate about is imperative. Different sectors have vastly different legal needs so you need to be continually up to date with key issues to impart excellent, tailored and relevant advice.

Boost your chances
Complaints from employers that graduates do not have relevant work experience and are not equipped with skills necessary to succeed in the workplace have been put under the microscope in recent months. A report by High Fliers found that students who had not undertaken internships or work experience placements – especially those seeking a career in law or banking – are most likely to find themselves at a dead end.

With this in mind, it is worth getting as much experience as you can before applying for training schemes. Since training to become a solicitor demands ample time, money and commitment, this will also help you to decide whether it is the right career for you. Try taking part in student law society activities, mooting and pro bono work, business simulations and client interviewing competitions. 

Book Recommendation: How to Make Partner and Still Have a Life: How to Get Ahead in Professional Services

The ultimate prize in the world of professional services is making partner. But how do you achieve this ambition? This is the definitive guide to fulfilling your potential, becoming a successful partner - and still having a life outside work.

Available from Amazon

Friday, July 12, 2013

Never events costing tax payer millions

Brought to you by our friends at JMW Solicitors

A recent investigation, into the rising number of never events in NHS has revealed the alarming cost of medical errors to tax payers.
Documents released by the NHS revealed one in ten hospital patients are affected by potentially serious medical errors, with 1,000 NHS patients needlessly dying every month due to poor hospital care.
Leading UK solicitors JMW, who analysed the existing data as part of an awareness campaign, are concerned about the increasing figures.
Eddie Jones, head of medical negligence at JMW, in an interview on the current never events system, explained:
“The very definition of a never event is a patient safety incident so serious that it should never be allowed to happen. Every single occurrence is one too many, so it is totally unacceptable that hundreds are happening, as they often have devastating consequences for the victim.
“The problem with the current system of reporting never events is that it is reliant on medical staff being honest and open about mistakes that have been made, which does not always happen.
“One way of addressing this issue would be to make it a legal requirement to report never events and for there to be significant consequences for any healthcare professionals who do not.”
The research used key findings from an NHS investigation which revealed one in ten patients are affected by potentially serious medical errors.
Last year, the government tripled the number of categories defined as a ‘never event’, from eight to twenty five, in order to increase transparency and focus on safety. However a total of 326 never events were recorded between 2011/2012, with 83 per cent of these caused by surgeons alone.
Solicitors who deal with these types of claims on a daily basis now fear the updated reporting system is no longer beneficial to the NHS and its patients.
Mr Jones said:
“The NHS may not be getting the full picture of the number of never events that are occurring and therefore cannot take the necessary action to tackle this issue head on. Patients who have been injured by a never event need assurances that every possible step has been taken to improve safety levels for them and others.
“Not all never events claims result in large compensation pay outs but the impact on the individual or family involved, particularly when a death has occurred, can be catastrophic. This is due to the system the NHS uses for valuing claims. It is often a quest for answers and for someone to admit that something went wrong that drives patients and families to take legal action in the first place rather than the prospect of financial compensation.”
The analysis by JMW also highlighted the increasing fear of the growing amount of public attention on never events, which has taken the focus away from the wider issue of budget cuts and lack of support for staff affecting the standard of care within the NHS.
The NHSLA estimates that the current claims it is handling have a potential total value of £16.8 billion, of which £16.6 billion relate to medical negligence claims.
Factsheets released by the NHSLA revealed the litigation authority received 9,143 claims under its clinical negligence scheme in 2012, which included breach of patient confidentiality and criminal proceedings against medical staff.
Mr Jones commented in the interview:
“Never Events are extremely serious but should not be tackled in isolation. The focus on the NHS should be on improving standards across the organisation in every area so that the number of avoidable patient injuries is reduced. If that is done and the right training and guidelines put in place then a reduction in the number of never events should follow.”
The key findings from the study by JMW have been summarised in an easy-to-read infographic on the company’s website: and can also be seen below.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What Is After The Event Insurance?

Brought to you by our friends at Guardian Legal Services

After the Event insurance, or ATE as it may also be known, is a form of insurance policy which covers the expenses and legal costs involved in litigation. It can be used by claimant and defendant, though mainly facilitated by claimants. After the Event insurance is often something purchased by a solicitor on behalf of their clients, as it is there to cover any legal costs that arise following an incident that has already occurred. This form of litigation cover is a relatively new type of insurance cover that protects against what could be substantial costs should a client be proven liable, such as in the event of a personal injury claim, or should the legal action be unsuccessful and there be large legal costs to cover.

After the Event insurance mainly covers the costs of the opponent’s legal fees, however it does also cover the insured party’s disbursements too, such as ATE insurance premium. It may also be extended to cover the costs of the Solicitor themselves. The typical ATE cover will run from the date of Policy inception until the completion of legal proceedings, however it may also include costs incurred before the Policy was taken out – depending on the circumstances and policy type.

This form of insurance is usually only taken out by those who did not have BTE (before the accident) cover in place. If the policyholder is not successful in the case, the insurance company will pay out the legal costs and expenses of the opponent. For those filing a personal injury claim on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, it is here that a solicitor may require you to take out After the Event insurance. This allows the costs to be covered if the claim is unsuccessful. The cost of the insurance policy itself is also usually applied on the same ‘no win, no fee’ basis.

As well as personal injury claims, ATE insurance typically covers: clinical negligence, commercial and contractual cases, road traffic accidents, financial miss-selling, insolvency and bankruptcy.

The biggest advantage of after the event insurance is the reassurance it brings to those who are involved in litigation. It removes the threat of potentially devastating financial losses and allows the litigant to continue to pursue the case for as long as they need to be to get the appropriate settlement. Not being able to afford legal costs is one of the biggest reasons for claimants and defendants to give up on a case.

When approaching a company regarding ATE insurance, your quote should be provided on a case by case basis. Application will be free and full assistance will be provided throughout the application process to ensure that your case merits are highlighted.

In recent years, After the Event insurance has come under serious scrutiny, however the right legal team will ensure that the correct protocol is followed and that if changes develop with regards to the International Association of Legal Expenses Insurers, your insurance policy and claims process will reflect this.

This article is provided by Guardian Legal, a bespoke Law firm highly specialised in the field of ATE Insurance and can cover all types of litigation. Click here to visit our site and receive the help you need today. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Book Recommendation: The End of Lawyers?: Rethinking the nature of legal services

This widely acclaimed legal bestseller has provoked a tidal wave of debate within the legal profession, being hailed as an inspiration by some and as heresy by others. Susskind lays down a challenge to all lawyers, and indeed all those in a professional service environment. He urges them to ask themselves, with their hands on their hearts, what elements of their current workload could be undertaken differently - more quickly, cheaply, efficiently, or to a higher quality - using alternative methods of working. The challenge for legal readers is to identify their distinctive skills and talents, the capabilities that they possess that cannot, crudely, be replaced by advanced systems or by less costly workers supported by technology or standard processes, or by lay people armed with online self-help tools. In the extended new preface to this revised paperback edition, Richard Susskind updates his views on legal process outsourcing, courtroom technology, access to justice, e-learning for lawyers, and the impact of the recession on the practice of law. He analyses the four main pressures that lawyers now face (to charge less, to work differently, to embrace technology, and to deregulate), and reveals common fallacies associated with each. And, in an entirely new line of thinking, Susskind argues that law firms and in-house departments will have four business models from which to choose in the future, and he provides some new tools and techniques to help lawyers plan for their future. Susskind argues that the market is increasingly unlikely to tolerate expensive lawyers for tasks (guiding, advising, drafting, researching, problem-solving, and more) that can equally or better be discharged, directly or indirectly, by smart systems and processes. It follows, the book claims, that the jobs of many traditional lawyers will be substantially eroded and often eliminated. Two forces propel the legal profession towards this scenario: a market pull towards commoditisation and a pervasive development and uptake of information technology. At the same time, the book foresees new law jobs emerging which may be highly rewarding, even if very different from those of today. The End of Lawyers represents a compelling vision of the future of the legal profession and a must-read for all lawyers. Indeed this book should be read by all those whose work touches on the law, and it offers much food for thought for anyone working in a professional environment.

Available from Amazon

Monday, July 1, 2013

Book Recommendation: Rumpole Rests His Case

Rumpole Rests His Case - seven hilarious stories starring John Mortimer's unforgettable barrister The comic, courageous, and corpulent Horace Rumpole reenters the fray in these seven fresh and funny stories in which the "great defender of muddled and sinful humanity" triumphs over the forces of prejudice and mean-mindedness while he tiptoes precariously through the domestic territory of his wife, Hilda-She Who Must Be Obeyed! With his passion for poetry, and a nose equally sensitive to the whiff of wrongdoing and the bouquet of a Ch�teau Thames Embankment, the lovable and disheveled Rumpole "is at his rumpled best" (The New York Times). These seven wonderful Rumpole stories will be loved by fans of John Mortimer, as well as readers of Sherlock Holmes, P.D. James and P.G. Wodehouse. 'One of the great comic creations of modern times' Evening Standard   'There is a truth in Rumpole that is told with brilliance and grace' Daily Telegraph 'Rumpole remains and absolute delight' The Times Sir John Mortimer was a barrister, playwright and novelist. His fictional political trilogy of Paradise Postponed, Titmuss Regained and The Sound of Trumpets has recently been republished in Penguin Classics, together with Clinging to the Wreckage and his play A Voyage round My Father. His most famous creation was the barrister Horace Rumpole, who featured in four novels and around eighty short stories. His books in Penguin include: The Anti-social Behaviour of Horace Rumpole; The Collected Stories of Rumpole; The First Rumpole Omnibus; Rumpole and the Angel of Death; Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders; Rumpole and the Primrose Path; Rumpole and the Reign of Terror; Rumpole and the Younger Generation; Rumpole at Christmas; Rumpole Rests His Case; The Second Rumpole Omnibus; Forever Rumpole; In Other Words; Quite Honestly and Summer's Lease.

Available from Amazon