Banking and finance

first_img The applicant agency applied for a recovery order under part 5 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 against the respondent (P) in respect of five properties. Police intelligence to the effect that P was involved in drug trafficking had provided a starting point for the agency’s investigation into his affairs. The agency argued that the only inference that could sensibly be drawn from the evidence gleaned from its investigation was that P derived his income through unlawful conduct in the form of drug trafficking and money laundering. It further argued that, almost without exception, every mortgage application made by P in relation to the relevant properties contained false information about his income and the source of that income. That, it submitted, also amounted to unlawful conduct. Held: (1) The allegation of drug trafficking, which relied on police intelligence and P’s association with individuals with drug convictions, had not been proven. The same went for the allegation of money laundering. However, with one exception, the agency had made out its case on mortgage fraud. P had made substantially false statements as to his income and he had intended and expected those statements to be relied on. (2) (Obiter) The case illustrated the breadth of application of the civil recovery legislation. As the law stood, any person, however otherwise law-abiding, could be the subject of a recovery order if he made a deliberately false statement in a mortgage application form. It was important that that should be more widely known, and it would be desirable for mortgage-providers to spell out in their application forms that possible consequence of a misstatement. Application granted. Mortgage fraud – Recovery orders Serious Organised Crime Agency v Athos Thanos Pelekanos: QBD (Mr Justice Hamblen): 2 October 2009center_img Claire Dobbin (instructed by the in-house solicitor) for the applicant; Andrew Bodnar (instructed by Lewis Nedas & Co) for the respondent.last_img read more

GC100 rejects government’s disclosure proposals

first_imgGeneral counsel at Britain’s biggest companies have rejected government plans to force companies to disclose more information about corporate social responsibility and risk. The GC100, the association for general counsel and company secretaries in FTSE 100 companies, said the requirement might leave companies vulnerable to legal action and mislead investors. It issued the warning in its response to a consultation on narrative reporting by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). The City of London Law Society echoed this view, insisting that there is ‘no value’ in introducing extra requirements and that existing rules on company reporting are still being digested. Following the economic crisis, BIS is reviewing the regime for narrative reporting, the reporting of non-financial information in company reports that is intended to provide a broad picture of a company’s business, market position, strategy, performance and prospects. The government wants to replace the existing ‘business review’ with a more onerous ‘operating and financial review’ (OFR), to ensure that companies report on their social and environmental duties, and that risks to the company are better disclosed. ‘Our robust view is that now is not the time to introduce yet further change,’ the GC100 said in its response. ‘Our member companies disclose those risks which their internal reviews identify as the most important. We note that there is a risk of liability if material risks are omitted which later result in losses. Some of our members are also concerned that the disclosure of more detail about risks and uncertainties could give a misleading impression of a company’s position. ‘The general experience of our members is that there is no noticeable demand on the part of investors for more detailed reporting from the companies in which they invest. We believe that the current principles-based and flexible reporting regime creates competitive advantage for the UK, while driving standards of corporate reporting which are among the best in the world. ‘We cannot see how the introduction of an OFR will, of itself, improve the way that social and environmental duties are addressed. ‘UK businesses have had to cope with constant [rule] changes over the past four years. More change will inevitably cost businesses more, in terms of internal resources and external fees, and erode national competitiveness.’ The BIS consultation ran from 2 August to 19 October. The government will publish its conclusions at the end of the year.last_img read more

My predictions for 2011

first_img Get connected or get out of the kitchen Visit the Gazette’s blogs page for more In Business blogs Related articles This time last year I wrote a blog for the Gazette that predicted a major change in 2010. I suggested that solicitors firms and new legal service providers would be divided into two broad groups – those that used web-based systems to deliver services to clients and those that didn’t. I was wrong – that divide hasn’t been clearly seen yet and other marketing management questions have had a higher profile. As with all research and development work, a negative result should be as valuable as a positive one. What analysis led me to that prediction, what was wrong with that analysis and how can it help us work out where to concentrate on in 2011? Looking at this now I picked the wrong issue. While I maintain that web delivery will be a significant differentiator between firms in the future, what has emerged as the choice in 2010 is the promotional groups and other businesses offering to connect firms with new and existing clients. Quality Solicitors, High Street Lawyer, Contact Law and several others have offered solicitors promotional solutions to protect their firms from the ABS-type businesses already here and planned for 2011. To join or not to join has been a question debated in many partners’ meetings around the country in 2010. This is still a valid marketing management question for 2011. What resources can your firm buy in to, to help protect and develop your firm’s market share? This remains a central question for senior and managing partners to consider. The one issue that struck me while re-reading the article from January 2010 was the consumer or demand side of the legal services sector. The general consumer and SME business are still mostly unaware of the benefits of solicitors’ services, use them too infrequently to care or retain information, and are often afraid of the costs or consequences of instructing a solicitor. The Ministry of Justice’s ongoing and other consumer surveys may provide an indication as to whether the consumers and SMEs are changing their views on using solicitors. For 2011 this lack of consumer understanding remains both a threat and an opportunity, while providing a valuable target for all concerned with delivering legal services. If your firm can regularly inform your past satisfied clients about the benefit of the services you offer while providing easy access for them to start to get a solution to their legal needs then you have the ability to compete in the market. There are many ways to achieve this, and lots of businesses able to help you understand and implement the changes needed to compete. However, the central point I missed in my prediction for 2010 was the slowness of solicitors’ firms to change and adopt new methods of working for clients. Speed of change will remain a barrier to firms’ future success, so senior and managing partners need to consider this alongside the other marketing management questions. How quickly and efficiently can we change our firm to take advantage of the changing market? I would suggest there is still an ‘early mover’ advantage for some firms that take decisive steps forward in marketing management. For 2011 I will attempt another prediction and again review it in a year’s time. The arrival of ABSs in October 2011 will come and go, but not with a big bang. We will continue to see innovations in the delivery of legal services and new businesses setting up to provide easy consumer and SME access to their legal services needs. Competitive pressure on prices and margins will only increase and we will see a lot more general legal advertising. Whichever side of the ABS fence you are on, efficiently and effectively providing legal services profitably to clients will remain the central management and marketing challenge. It’s still all to play for in 2011. The end of the article 12 months ago still remains true for 2011: ‘It will be the focus on servicing clients’ needs that will be the mark of success in 2010.’ Legal services reform: baseline surveylast_img read more

£20,000 law firm donation kickstarts head injury fund

first_imgA fund for families of people with head injuries has been kick-started by a £20,000 grant from a litigation law firm. The long-established Stewarts Law Foundation, a charity fund founded by the firm’s partners, donated the money to the Headway Emergency Fund earlier this month. The scheme aims to help survivors, carers and family members cope with the practical implications when a loved one suffers a sudden head injury. It has already been put into action, with Headway providing money for the family of one victim to stay overnight near the facility where their relative was being treated. John Cahill, managing partner of Stewart’s Law, said: ‘The foundation recognises the immediate impact that brain injury can have on a family’s finances and the fund aims to alleviate some of that financial hardship at the point of need.’ Applicants can seek up to £500 for hotel and travel costs for an emergency situation associated with a head injury. Andrew Green, chairman of Headway, whose son Chris was nine years old when he sustained a brain injury in a cycling accident, explained how vital the new service can be. ‘We had to dash to the hospital when Chris had his accident and didn’t have time to pack a bag or make any arrangements. ‘We had no money, clothes or personal items with us. ‘I’m quite sure this type of fund would have helped immensely and allowed us to concentrate fully on supporting our son.’last_img read more

Lawyer foot soldiers of the Big Society need a state-maintained road to march on

first_imgThis week chancellor George Osborne received a bloody nose from charities which estimate their finances will be hard hit by his decision to place a cap on tax relief for charitable donations. His move may or may not be right in principle. But as with the coalition’s approach to legal services, Osborne’s move on these funds harms the very not-for-profit ‘Big Society’ efforts that can help meet unmet need. LawWorks has been a vocal critic of the assaults on social welfare law that the legal aid cuts represent. Supported in its line by leading commercial law firms, the pro bono clearing house points out that the voluntary efforts lawyers make in meeting unmet need depend on the existence of a viable community of social welfare lawyers, supported by legal aid. In other words, lawyer foot soldiers of the Big Society need a state-maintained road to march on. In other areas of voluntary activity, it has been proposed that greater engagement can be generated by lowering safety standards. Understandably though, volunteer lawyers are not willing to give advice they regard as ‘unsafe’ – not least when there may literally be no one else to pick up the pieces. Here, at least, the Big Society cannot be both free and safe.last_img read more

Cyanamid revisited

first_imgSubscribe now for unlimited access Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our communitylast_img read more

Way out with the count

first_imgGet your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe now for unlimited accesslast_img read more

Silenced partner

first_imgSubscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Subscribe now for unlimited access Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletterslast_img read more

Message for Margaret

first_imgSubscribe now for unlimited access Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our communitylast_img read more

Back to earth

first_imgTo continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Subscribe now for unlimited accesslast_img read more