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Cyber-attack – the basics

We reported in our June 2019 edition (p4) on some of the issues faced by law firms and the steps that can be taken to try to mitigate the risk. The insurer, Aon, reports that in 2017 61% of law firms have been victims of cyber-crime, cyber-attack or data breach. The key reasons are the combination of the sensitive information held by firms and the sums of money held in client account. The motive for this crime is money – whether stealing what is held in client account or the demand of a ransom.
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Costs – challenge promptly

Litigation solicitors will no doubt breathe a sigh of relief to note that a costs judge has refused a claimant’s application to challenge a solicitor’s bill that was agreed and approved over four years ago. Carter-Ruck solicitors submitted a bill of £340,000 to their client in December 2014 for successful work in relation to a claim against a bank. The facts are complex but the central issue is that the bill of costs was fully itemised and was authorised by the claimant in relation to a conclusion from which he benefitted as the claimant received $500,000 in settlement of his claim and Carter-Ruck was separately paid its £340,000 in costs directly.
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Costs – no comparison

The HC has determined an interesting application relating to costs in an injunction case. The HC refused the claim by Monex for an injunction and decided that the costs against Monex should be assessed summarily. The defendant’s costs were over £85,000 as compared to the claimant’s costs of £44,669. This stark comparison was the central plank of the claimant’s argument as to why they should not have to meet the defendant’s costs in full, which the claimant argued were ‘unreasonably high’.
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Prorogation – unlawful

While we make a point of only reporting on changes to practice that are in force, it is impossible to let this month’s edition pass without mentioning the Supreme Court decision which held that the attempted prorogation of Parliament was unlawful and was thus null and of no effect. Prorogation marks the end of a parliamentary session and brings to an end nearly all parliamentary business including existing Bills going through the Commons. This is what we thought had happened until the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision. This means that Parliament is still in session and so the Bills that we thought were dead may still hit the statute book soon including:
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Costs - the basics

The Gazette reports on the case of a solicitor who was struck off after over 50 years in practice for over-charging on probate cases. The result might not come as a surprise to many - but what is a surprise is that there are still solicitors in practice who fail to deal with the basics in relation to costs.

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Consumer Contracts Regulations - a reminder

In its guidance on client care letters, the SRA reminds us in passing that the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 require legal services providers to provide their clients with certain specified pre-contract information. This information could be included in the client care letter.

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Whistle-blower - struck off

The Gazette has reported that the SDT has stuck off two solicitors and their trainee for transgressions involving submission of false bills, misappropriating client funds and misleading the regulator.

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Lender knowledge – make no assumptions

We would not usually report a solicitor being struck off but a recent case involving a sole practitioner might resonate with property lawyers. 
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Professional Deputies Forum – set up

We have a new acronym – PDF not only refers to a file format but also the Professional Deputies Forum.
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Bailii – plea for funding

As a regular user of the invaluable Bailii law reporting service, it seems appropriate to pass on a request from one of its trustees. 
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Most-read articles

Inheritance claims – interim payments
Wednesday, 09 October 2019
When can the court exercise its statutory power to award interim payments to a claimant under the Inheritance Act? This issue rarely comes before the court and the author of this article highlights... Read more...
Refund entitlement – taxable amount not reduced
Wednesday, 09 October 2019
In their monthly VAT update, EY report on a case that will be interesting to lawyers as the facts involved an SDLT avoidance scheme (perhaps unsurprisingly, the four companies involved are in... Read more...
Costs – challenge promptly
Friday, 04 October 2019
Litigation solicitors will no doubt breathe a sigh of relief to note that a costs judge has refused a claimant’s application to challenge a solicitor’s bill that was agreed and approved over four... Read more...
Serving overseas – check the rules
Friday, 04 October 2019
 It might sound obvious, but if a firm is instructed to serve proceedings overseas, the firm must ensure that the rules of service in the relevant country are properly observed. The CA recently... Read more...
Pet rent – permissible
Friday, 04 October 2019
The excellent Pain Smith blog reminds us about the Tenant Fees Act 2019 (which we reported on in our previous editions – March 2019 (p27) and May 2019 (p28)). The Act outlaws letting fees paid by... Read more...
Brexit frustration – update
Friday, 04 October 2019
We reported in our April 2019 edition (p27) on the interesting case where the HC had to consider whether potential departure by the UK from the EU was sufficient to satisfy the legal meaning of... Read more...
Fixtures – what passes on sale of land?
Friday, 04 October 2019
Property lawyers will recall their land law, which states that fixtures can pass on the sale of land but fittings do not. This can be seen as an archaic distinction – but a recent HC case has... Read more...
Parents – gender
Thursday, 03 October 2019
 A definition of the term ‘mother’ has been established for the first time under English common law in a landmark case. At issue was: where a person born female who has undergone gender... Read more...
Drugs and alcohol – managing in the workplace
Thursday, 03 October 2019
An interesting article reminds employers to review their drugs and alcohol policies and breaches of them in the light of recent developments. Businesses are increasingly expected to support employees... Read more...
Terrorism – notice of detention
Thursday, 03 October 2019
A revised notice of detention which examining officers must provide to someone detained under Schedule 7 to the Terrorism Act 2000 has been published by the government. The notice gives information... Read more...

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