Archive for November 19th, 2009

The Bill’s in brief: Labour’s plans for new laws



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Braced for the big bang and Tesco law

Times: The opening up of the legal services market brings with it opportunities and threats as new players seek to establish themselves

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Barristers claim unfair secrecy as board debates ban on partnerships

Times: Hundreds of years of tradition may be ditched today when the ban on barristers joining in partnership with other professionals is lifted.

The decision, to be taken at a public meeting by the Bar Standards Board, the profession’s regulator, has provoked furious controversy because key papers have not been released in advance.

At present barristers cannot form partnerships with each other or with solicitors, and neither can form partnerships with other professionals such as accountants or surveyors. The Legal Services Act paves the way for a complete shake-up in the legal market and sweeps away current restrictions.

Some barristers are accusing the board of acting unfairly and unlawfully over its refusal to release the confidential papers and have hinted at the threat of legal action. They are angry that the board will not allow them sight of the papers and recommendations — as allowed to all 15 members of the board — before the meeting takes place.

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Judge allows secret services to hide evidence in civil lawsuits


• Ruling prompted by UK Guantánamo torture cases
• Lawyers decry attack on basic principle of law

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Legal Services Board issues proposals on ABS regulation

Law Society Gazette: The Legal Services Board has published a consultation paper outlining the core principles it expects all licensing authorities (LAs) to use in regulating alternative business structures, as it moves towards the next stage in liberalising the delivery of legal services.

The paper proposes removing restrictions that have, until now, prevented non-lawyers from owning legal services businesses. The new rules will mean lawyers will be able to provide their services alongside services from non-lawyers, and will allow legal practices to attract external investment.

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Planned legislation extends FSA powers

Times: The Financial Services Authority is to get new powers that will allow it to seize data from hedge funds.

The City regulator will receive its new remit in proposed legislation outlined in the Queen’s Speech today.

Ministers believe that changes to the regulator’s remit will be crucial in tackling any future financial crises.

Crucially, the Bill will include a requirement for banks to produce “living wills” to assist regulators in the event of an institution collapsing.

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Why were expenses spared? PM asked

Independent: The anti-sleaze watchdog attacked Gordon Brown last night for failing to include new legislation to clean up MPs’ expenses in the Queen’s Speech.

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