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Thursday, 7th May 2015







Experts warn of postal voting fraud

Electoral law specialists have warned that the growth in postal voting on demand should be reviewed and possibly banned completely to combat fraud and abuse of influence from family members. Timothy Straker, QC, a barrister at 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square, says that with the best will in the world you can’t avoid senior family members dictating votes, while Ashley Badcock, senior partner at Sharpe Pritchard, says: “We’d like to see a return to the position where there was not an automatic right to a postal ballot - to a system where voters would have to justify why they were not able to vote in person at the polling station.” Nicholas Evans at Bircham Dyson Bell argues for a requirement to show ID for those voting in person and suggests that weekend voting may make personation easier. The comments come just weeks after former Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman was found guilty of fraud after four voters launched legal action against him. The SRA has also launched an investigation into Mr Rahman, a lawyer, who could ultimately be struck off.

The Times, Page: 60


Fixed-term Parliaments Act should be repealed

David Pannick QC of Blackstone Chambers discusses the Fixed-term Parliaments Bill in the Times, arguing that it should be repealed. The Act was said by the House of Lords Constitution Committee to “owe more to short-term considerations than to a mature assessment of enduring constitutional principles or sustained public demand”. The exceptions to the requirement for a definite five-year term will not necessarily help bring the infusion of democracy that the coming period may require, and could enable a weak government to stay in office, Mr Pannick writes.

The Times, Page: 60


Rights owners worried by digital single market

Broadcasters are among those concerned by moves by EC president Jean-Claude Juncker to create single market for online goods. The Digital Single Market package includes moves meant to break down barriers to accessing on-demand content across borders. Rights owners have expressed concerns over the plans as they release on-demand content at different times and at varying prices across the continent.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 3


Drone regulation embryonic

Rafi Azim-Khan at Pillsbury and Isabel Martorell from Carter-Ruck offer comment on privacy laws relating to the use of drones in the Times. Both agree that existing laws have not kept up with the rise in the availability and intrusive and alarming use of drones. Discovering and proving the identity of a perpetrator of harassment would prove particularly difficult, they say.

The Times, Page: 61


ECJ to report on minimum price for alcohol

The ECJ is due to issue a report on SNP's plans for a minimum price for alcohol within the next few weeks, following a hearing in Luxembourg yesterday. The Government has proposed for a minimum unit price of 50p, opposed by drinks industry groups.

The Scotsman, Page: 10   The Herald, Page: 4





TTIP should herald increased supervision

In a letter to the FT, Jan Dalhuisen, professor at Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College, says the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership offers an opportunity to introduce a system where an international commercial court provides supervision of international arbitration. Professor Dalhuisen also believes the publication of all appointments and fees related to investor-state dispute settlements would help to lift suspicion over the lack of openness and accountability, particularly in matters that affect the public interest.

Financial Times, Page: 12


Alderman quits OECD bribery group

Richard Alderman, the former director of the Serious Fraud Office, has stepped down from an OECD’s advisory group on bribery following pressure for anti-corruption campaigners. The groups claimed Mr Alderman’s appointment would “undermine confidence in the impartiality and integrity of the OECD's bribery work” due to his championing of opaque civil settlements with companies over prosecutions and his agreement to "irregular" redundancy payments to several senior staff members without Whitehall approval.

Financial Times, Page: 6


Law Diary

Edward Fennell speculates on who the next Justice Secretary will be following the elections, in his weekly Law Diary. He also points out that on 72 occasions last year private data was mistakenly released to the public by law firms; notes the fifth anniversary of the birth of Hogan Lovells, which, he says, is celebrating in style, and discusses changes to the fees barristers must pay to the Bar Standards Board.

The Times, Page: 61





Mother’s gagging order criticised

Justice Alison Russell has been criticised for gagging a mother whose daughter she ordered to be handed over to the gay father and his partner after a surrogacy agreement broke down. The mother was told she was homophobic and had tried to smear the gay father, but has been banned from speaking about the case. Dominic Raab said: “It is a cardinal principle of British justice that justice is not just done but seen to be done. In this case the reporting restrictions are totally disproportionate.”

Daily Mail, Page: 1, 4


Tottenham campaigner wins council tax fight

Anti-poverty campaigner and retired vicar Paul Nicolson has won a case highlighting the inaccuracy of unpaid council tax enforcement costs. Mr Nicolson deliberately refused to pay his tax to Haringey Council as he suspected the costs, checked by magistrates, were inaccurate. A High Court judge agreed magistrates had not had "relevant information" before them when making a costs order. Mr Nicolson said the case had implications across the UK, as about three million liability orders were granted by magistrates every year to councils in England and Wales, he added.

BBC News


Griffin faces legal threat over photo

Former BNP leader Nick Griffin is facing legal action from award-winning photographer Daniele Tamagni after he used his picture of Congolese men in kilts to create was has been described as racist propaganda. Mr Griffin used the image in a tweet to mock the SNP. He put the slogan “Keep Scotland Scottish – say No to the SNP” across the photograph. Mr Tamagni is considering taking action against Mr Griffin for infringing his copyright and moral rights.  

The Independent (Web)


Flash Crash trader has bail request denied

Navinder Singh Sarao , the trader accused of contributing to a multibillion-dollar stock market crash from his parents' home, has had his request for a cut in his bail security refused. His legal team argued that it was impossible for him to produce security of £5m as Mr Sarao had had all his assets frozen by US authorities. Mr Sarao pledged to take his case to the High Court.

The Guardian, Page: 13   Financial Times, Page: 22   The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 3


Former Oxford student sues over rape case

A former Oxford student, who was allegedly raped while studying there, is taking legal action against the university arguing its policy not to investigate allegations of rape except in exceptional circumstances was unlawful and discriminatory.

Daily Mail, Page: 5   The Daily Telegraph, Page: 13


Antonov loses fight against extradition

Vladimir Antonov, the former owner of Portsmouth football club, has failed in a High Court appeal against his extradition to Lithuania to face allegations of bank fraud.

Financial Times, Page: 6    Daily Star, Page: 7





Law firm mistreated former miners

Barnsley-based Raleys solicitors have been ordered to pay compensation to a former miner suffering from vibration white finger who discovered the firm had failed to issue him with adequate advice over what compensation he was entitled to. The firm was found to have issued standardised letters when assessing claims and was accused of commoditising its clients. The firm has made a total of £77m representing former miners.

Daily Mirror, Page: 30-31


Lawyer of the Week

The Times Lawyer of the Week is Francis Hoar of Field Court Chambers. Mr Hoar successfully prosecuted the longest election petition in English legal history – that brought against former Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman, who was found guilty of election fraud and his election declared void.

The Times, Page: ??



HCB Solicitors and Chartered Accountants has acquired two Luton legal firms - Stephens Wheeler Cooke & Sons and Bernard and Tomlin Solicitors.

The Birmingham Post, Page: 32



QualitySolicitors Talbots has promoted James Gwilliams and Louise Jones to management directors following their acquisition of share capital in the business. Elsewhere, Louise Finnie, Dawn Hilton and Rich Lloyd have all been made partners at the Birmingham office of Eversheds. Meanwhile, Sir Maurice Kay, the former vice-president of the Court of Appeal, has joined Kings Chambers to spearhead its domestic and international arbitration team.

The Birmingham Post, Page: 32, 33


Birmingham law conference

Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co (UK) and Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & Co (India) are hosting the First Law International conference in Birmingham on May 21 and 22.

The Birmingham Post, Page: 32





MPC founders issue warning over tax hikes

Two founding members of the Bank of England’s MPC have warned that raising taxes to bring in new revenues to tackle the deficit or pay for spending plans would not work. Dame DeAnne Julius said Britain was already close to “hitting the ceiling” on the amount of revenue the government could raise through higher taxes. Meanwhile, Ian Plenderleith described rhetoric concerning ending austerity as “complete illogical nonsense”. “[Those who] advocate higher spending now financed by higher borrowing are essentially saying, we don’t want to cut our lifestyle now, we want to make our children poorer and our grandchildren poorer,” he said.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 1, 4   The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 2   Financial Times, Page: 6   Financial Times, Page: 13





Service sector growth at eight-month high

The services sector saw its fastest growth in eight months during April, a survey has indicated. The Markit/CIPS PMI was 59.5 in April, up from March's figure of 58.9. A figure above 50 implies the sector is expanding. April saw the UK's fastest growth since August 2014, although prices charged by service sector businesses fell for the first time in six months. Markit said the services sector had now grown for 28 successive months. Similar surveys had suggested growth in the manufacturing and construction sectors slowed last month. Martin Beck, senior economic adviser to the EY ITEM Club, said: "Against a recent run of mixed economic data, a surprise improvement in April's CIPS services survey provides reassurance that a decent economic expansion is still on track." Mr Beck added that the fall in prices uncovered by the survey meant the BoE was unlikely to raise interest rates this year.

Financial Times, Page: 6   The Guardian, Page: 29   The Scotsman, Page: 31





Merkel under pressure over US spying

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s reputation is under threat after the Austrian government and EADS both filed legal complaints alleging the German intelligence agency, the BND, conspired with America’s NSA to spy on them. The BND also stands accused of spying on the French presidency and the EU commission, behalf of the NSA.

The Daily Telegraph   Financial Times, Page: 12   Financial Times, Page: 8


Woman files lawsuit against all homosexuals

American Sylvia Ann Driskell has filed a lawsuit with a federal court in Nebraska against all the world's gay people for allegedly breaking religious law. She claims to be an "ambassador for God" and asks the judge to rule on the question of whether homosexuality "is a sin or not a sin".

The Daily Telegraph




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Page Last Updated: 15 May 2015