London Solicitors Litigation Association
Happy New Year to all our members!
It is back to work for most of us and the LSLA is pleased to let you know about some of our most recent and future activities and legal issues which might affect you. For more details please visit our website by clicking here.
Diary Date – LSLA AGM 16 March 2010
Our AGM will take place on 16 March 2010. All are welcome to the meeting itself and dinner afterwards. Further details will be circulated in due course.
Spring Lecture Series
We are currently putting together our Spring Lecture series. All lectures are CPD accredited and attendance is not limited to LSLA members; anyone can apply for tickets. The cost is £20 per event or £70 for all four (non-members £25 or £90). All lectures will be held at The Auditorium at Lovells LLP, Atlantic House, 50 Holborn Viaduct, London EC1A 2FG and start at 6 p.m. We shall provide you with details as soon as we can.
In case you missed the lecture we held last year, Paul Chesterton and Clare Rodway will address the City of Westminster and Holborn Law Society on 25 January 2010 on “Controlling the Beast - How to Manage the Media around a Case”. Paul is the Court correspondent for the Evening Standard and Clare is the Managing Director of Kysen PR. A copy of the application form for tickets is attached.
Solicitors Journal and New Law Journal - Discounted Offers
Although the administrative details are still to be finalised, we are in the process of agreeing a discount of 20% to LSLA members for their subscriptions to the Solicitors Journal and New Law Journal. We shall let you know when this has been agreed so that you can take advantage of the discount.
Renewal of Membership
Renewal forms should have been sent to you to renew your membership. If you have not received your renewal form or if any members of your firm would like to join the LSLA for the first time please contact Anna Pertoldi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
E-Filing in the Commercial Court
Despite calls from the legal community for greater investment in the Court’s e-filing infrastructure, the Commercial Court and the Technology and Construction Court reports a surprisingly low take up of the e-working scheme it currently operates. It appears that one of the reasons for this is a lack of awareness and information about the scheme. Hopefully this should be addressed in the context of the work being done to procure the next stage which is a complete Court e-file allowing users to access and obtain copies of it at any time.
In case you are not aware of it, the automated system operates by the user sending an email requesting the Court form needed to issue or file a document. Within a few minutes of completing the form online and sending it back, the user will receive a response confirming filing of the document or, where appropriate, a sealed version of the relevant document for service.
This straightforward service is available 24 hours a day and eliminates the need to work either in the office or through an outdoor clerk. We would therefore ask members to publicise this service within their respective firms.
In addition, the Court Service is offering to provide free demonstrations to law firms. Existing demonstrations have been very well received. If any member would like to organise a demonstration for their firm (or have an opportunity to trial the system) please contact Nigel Kelly (Nigel.email@example.com) or another member of the Electronic Working Team on +44 (0) 208 123 0846.
We would also suggest that each firm should identify a particular member who would be identified internally as the person able to handle any queries or enquiries which may arise in connection with this stage of the e-working project.
Progress of the Rolls Building
The new Business Court facilities in the Rolls Building are progressing in accordance with the current timetable and programme. The Court should be fully fitted out and ready for occupation by the second quarter of 2011. The building is currently having all services installed and shell and core work should be completed by the end of March this year. Site visits for legal representatives should take place before summer this year. We also understand that the furniture for the Court should be ready for viewing and comment in the next few weeks.
Among other IT matters being addressed is the possibility of Wi-Fi facilities being installed.
Lord Justice Jackson’s Final Report due on 14 January 2010
As our members will know, on 8 May 2009 Lord Justice Jackson published his preliminary report into the costs of civil proceedings aimed at promoting “access to justice at proportionate cost”. A full copy of the substantial report can be found at www.judiciary.gov.uk/about_judiciary/cost-review/preliminary-report.htm and a copy of our response is on our website. Lord Jackson’s final report is due on 14 January 2010 and we shall report to members thereafter.
The Personal Support Unit and Zaccheus Trust
Those of you who attended the Annual Dinner in November last year will remember the impassioned speech of Joanna Kennedy, Chief Executive of The Zacchaeus 2000 Trust on its work “to fight the causes of poverty and to help thousands in extreme poverty in the UK to access the justice system when they face claims by statutory authorities and Court proceedings”. To find out more about the Trust see www.z2k.org.
As you will be aware there are many other organisations which help litigants in person and those who cannot afford to pay for legal advice and assistance. Many firms provide volunteers to the Citizens’ Advice Bureau which operates from the Royal Courts of Justice and Principal Registry of the Family Division at First Avenue House, High Holborn. The Personal Support Unit also operates from these Courts and from Wandsworth County Court and “offers non-legal advice, help, information and support to litigants in person and to any member of the public attending” Court who require assistance. For further details see http://www.thepsu.co.uk/PSU.htm.
Many of your will probably notice that our President, David Greene has been appointed as a New Law Journal Consultant Editor. His first article whilst in this post was published in the NLJ 1 & 8 January 2010 edition and was entitled “Countdown to Jackson”.
An article by Committee Member Francesca Kaye appeared in the Solicitors Journal on 22 December 2009 entitled “Made to Measure” and dealt with some of the effects of the new practice direction on pre-action conduct introduced in April 2009.