Plan to ban McKenzie Buddies from charging fees gets assistance of Law Society and CILEx

Plans to stop McKenzie Friends from being able to recover fees from members of the public following effective court action have received the support of the Law Society and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx).

A McKenzie Friend is somebody who assists a litigant personally in a court appearance in some cases a good friend or family member. In a lot of cases McKenzie Friends are not certified or managed legal representatives, but some still effort to charge for their services. Lots of members of the general public are currently forced into being litigants face to face because they cannot manage a lawyer, while the legal help arrangement which used to provide legal representation to such people has been destroyed by the government’s austerity agenda. Previously, the Legal Services Board and the Solicitors Regulation Authority have actually suggested that McKenzie Friends could offset the legal help cuts; however the Law Society has refuted the concept that non-professionals can correctly change qualified lawyers. Meanwhile, the Judicial Executive Board has proposed a restriction on non-professional recuperating costs for litigation or advocacy in the courts a move also supported by CILEx. You can find more information on medicare scam lawyer here.
Simon Garrod, CILEx director of policy and governance, said: McKenzie Friends might originate from a range of sources and the bulk will be acting with total propriety, however we do not think it suitable to charge for legal services without ensuring the public enough defenses and redress. We are open to how we as approved regulators can work together to improve requirements and guarantee the public can be positive in individuals who support them through the courts.

auto-insurance-fraudJonathan Smithers, president of the Law Society, stated: There are various types of McKenzie Friends. They might be friend or family, or pro-bono plan volunteers who may have some legal background; and after that there are those who charge for their services, perhaps offering a knowledge they are not certified to offer. Restricting the recovery of charges will still allow judges to think about requests from McKenzie good friends to take part in court procedures under the Legal Services Act 2007. Prohibiting McKenzie buddies from recuperating costs for litigation or advocacy strikes the right balance Clients of fee-paid McKenzie Friends have no assurance of their legal knowledge, and are left with no redress if things go wrong. They are not necessarily less expensive than solicitors, who are extremely regulated and provide a high requirement of quality service. Our members have actually witnessed the damage done by the dishonest, so we very much invite any steps that bring clearness to the support that a McKenzie Friend can offer.

Congress Is Still Aiming to Reverse Vermont’s GMO Identifying Law

Power to the people or power to the big food companies? It appears a poignant question to ask while Independence Day hangovers are still raising, and as an extremely popular Vermont state law requiring food makers to plainly identify items made from GMO components is poised to be compressed by lawmakers in Washington acting under the influence of the food and agriculture industries.Last Friday was a banner day for advocates of GMO labeling: More than two years after it was passed overwhelmingly by the state’s legislature, the Vermont law finally entered into effect, having survived a barrage of scare methods and legal attacks lobbed at it by big food and big age. It is the very first law in the country to need necessary labeling of foods that contain genetically modified ingredients. Hailing the landmark minute at a rally in front of the statehouse in Burlington, Gov. Peter Shumlin told celebrants, Vermont had the courage to state, If it’s the ideal thing to do, exactly what are we waiting for?.

Most Americans would seem to agree. Poll after survey has discovered that 80 to 90 percent of Americans believe food companies should be needed to identify items made from GMO active ingredients.

The Vermont-mandated GMO labels have actually begun cropping up in grocery stores and, for some companies, throughout the country. Not all companies will comply with all items offered in state, and local news station WCAX reports that some 3,000 items will slowly disappear from racks as sellers sell off existing stock over the yearlong window allowed by the law. Some business, such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi, have decided to label their more popular products, such as their flagship sodas, while Pepsi Wild Cherry, for instance, simply won t be sold in Vermont.

With the likes of General Mills, Kellogg, Campbell s, Mars, and ConAgra responding to the state-level law with across the country labeling for items, there would appear to be adequate evidence that the kind of clear, direct GMO labels Americans say they desire are apparently not as difficult as the market has actually made them out to be. Yet the momentum on Capitol Hill seems moving against the popular will.

Even as Vermonters commemorated their law going into impact, the U.S. Senate was moving ever closer to passing its own GMO labeling law. Why the scare quotes? Because while the Vermont law practically does exactly what the large bulk of Americans say they want such a law to do require clear, on-package labels determining food made from GMO active ingredients the Senate s version would do anything however.

For beginners, it wouldn’t do anything for at least 2 years; maybe more however it would instantly nullify any state-level legislation, like Vermont s, that requires GMO products to be identified. And far from the sort of no-nonsense label needed in Vermont, food makers might choose for a lesser evil, such as using a label that’s just scannable with a smartphone or printing a toll-free number that a consumer can call for more details.

The Senate legislation is a compromise expense that emerged from the Agriculture Committee; it was hashed out by Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D Mich., who has together received more than $2.1 million from agribusiness donors during this election cycle alone, as Consumers Union noted. The Senate is arranged to vote this week to end debate on the bill, which would clear the way for a final vote for passage. As Politico reported, an earlier test vote hardly bodes well for labeling advocates: 68 senators, consisting of a reasonable variety of farm-state Democrats, lined up to support the measure, with just 29 senators voting against it.

If the Senate’s costs make it into law, those GMO labels included on Vermont racks today could wind up as nothing more than collector s items on eBay.

Law Society sued by training supplier over anti-competitive CQS rule

Mr. Justice Roth identifies accuser’s attorneys’ costs as ‘disproportionate’ at most current case management conference

hqdefaultThe Law Society is being taken legal action against by a legal training carrier for needing conveyance companies to complete its anti-money laundering training to maintain Conveyance Quality Scheme (CQS) accreditation.
Socrates Training Limited, which provides law firms anti-money laundering (AML) training, to name a few compliance courses, has brought a claim in the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) under section 47A of the Competition Act 1998 for alleged anti-competitive behavior.


Socrates asserts that ‘at some time, thought to be early in 2015’ the Law Society mandated that over 3,000 CQS-subscribed firms ‘purchase both AML online training and [mortgage] fraud training’, for that reason abusing its dominant market position and reducing the competitors for training carriers. The Law Society thinks the claim to be ‘wholly without benefit’.


Bernard George, a solicitor and Socrates director, stated that he ‘fully anticipated’ Socrates to win the case but cautioned of the threats for the profession if not.
It will suggest the Law Society can award itself training monopolies for any firm or any lawyer that has a Law Society accreditation. That is lots of countless firms and tens of countless lawyers, all needing to buy whatever training the Law Society wants to sell them. That could devastate the competitive training market.’


He included that the Law Society ought to run schemes like the CQS ‘to make sure recognized attorneys are skilled, not to sell training’.
‘Firms are caught, as the CQS is essentially a “must-have” if you are going to do residential conveyance. Without it many mortgage loan providers will not let you handle their transactions. There is absolutely no requirement for the Law Society to be a monopoly training carrier, except that it is a great earner.’


‘Disproportionate’ expenses

The case is the first to be designated to the brand-new CAT ‘fast track’ and will come to trial at the start of November. The complainant is seeking damages, interest, a declaration that the tying provision is illegal and unenforceable, and an injunction limiting the defendant from continuing to abuse its dominant position.

housing-fraud-343x220At the second case management conference previously this week, the Competition Employment Tribunal heard that Norton Rose Fulbright, representing the Law Society, proposed costs of 640,000 for the ‘four-day trial’. Mr. Justice Peter Roth labeled the figure as ‘disproportionate’ and set the maximum cap on the Law Society’s recoverable costs from Socrates at 350,000.


Norton Rose likewise asserted that it had run up costs of 171,000 plus VAT in the first 7 weeks of representing the Law Society from 25 April to 10 June, as an outcome of over 450 hours of work. Roth J described the time spent as ‘remarkable’.


The claimants, represented by Philip Woolfe of Monckton Chambers, made an application for disclosure from the Law Society of CQS membership numbers and AML training revenues since 2014 in a bid to compute the appreciable effect on the market.



In response, Kassie Smith QC, likewise of Monckton Chambers, who was instructed by Norton Rose Fulbright, provided to supply the number of CQS accredited firms, the date of accreditation and the variety of appropriate charge earners at the date of application in addition to the total revenue for CQS training post 2013. This was accepted by the Claimants and approved by Roth J.



Voluntary accreditation schemes

business crime concept with handcuffs and dollarThe case has cast doubt on the legitimacy of voluntary accreditation plans. Crispin Passmore, executive director of policy at the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), thinks there must be convincing evidence that the advantages of such schemes exceed the costs.


‘To improve public defense, the accreditation should be robust and individually quality ensured. Evaluating the effect on quality and any barriers to accessing services need to belong to that factor to consider. And to be credible, some solicitors should cannot fulfill the requirement.

‘There is little proof that the general public use accreditation schemes to help them select their lawyer. Could access to grievances data or client feedback do more to assist the public select? Where people get info from also matters the general public need to have the ability to choose the source that matches them. That may include independent, reliable sources with no interest in promoting services, or contrast websites that enable public remark.



‘Voluntary accreditation plans are generally marketing opportunities for attorneys and profit centers for those that offer them. Prior to investing money on them, law firms might wish to see evidence that the benefits really do surpass the expenses for them and their consumers.

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