Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Lawyer Monthly - Legal Awards 2015


We were delighted to have learned today from Lawyer Monthly that they have shortlisted us as finalists in the Boutique Commercial Litigation Law Firm of the Year UK category of their Legal Awards 2015.

They explain:

"Recognising achievement and success in the legal industry, Lawyer Monthly is pleased to unveil the finalists for its 2015 Legal Awards. The finalists are made up from a wide spectrum of practice areas across many jurisdictions. The Legal Awards are a global celebration of excellence in the profession across private practice, the public sector, commerce and industry, and the Bar."

Quite an honour, considering that the competition is UK-wide, and further welcome recognition of our reputation in the field.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Who "owns" a souvenir plot?


Some would have you believe that Scots law allows anyone to be the Laird of, if not all he surveys, at least a square foot. And entering the realms of aristocracy is said to be astonishingly cheap. One site advertises souvenir plots “from just £29.99” and claims that, in return, you can “obtain a title that was previously available only to Scottish landed gentry” and use a clan crest, coat-of-arms and tartan. By “Scottish tradition”, it's claimed, ownership of the plot “legally allows” you, or someone you love, to use the courtesy title of Laird, Lord or Lady and many people will apparently “update their driving licence, credit cards and such like” to reflect their new status. I'd pause here to note that the law of Scotland legally allows you to use the courtesy title “Messiah”, and to update accordingly as much paperwork as you like, for nothing. Leaving that to one side, though, what is the legal truth behind these offers of instant ennoblement?

Thursday, 12 March 2015

"Without prejudice" correspondence in Scotland and England: a divergent approach

It makes the sales pitch all but impossible, but you have to be honest. Litigation is costly, time-consuming, stressful and unpredictable in outcome, however clear the facts and law might seem to be. Clients can think that when their lawyer points this out to them it is just a back-covering exercise in case things go wrong later, or that the risk isn't really that great because the facts and the law are so clearly on their side. It can therefore be helpful to put it this way. Most disagreements in life settle without a lawyer being instructed. Most legal disputes are resolved without the need for court action. Most actions that are raised settle before judgment. So, the cases that do end up going to judgment after proof or debate comprise the tiny percentage where both parties have decided that the time, worry, cost and risk of proceeding all the way are worth it because they're going to win in the end. And 100% of the time, one of them loses.

For all those reasons, commercial litigators know that one of their first duties is to try to persuade their client not to use their services at all, at least in the sense of avoiding litigation. Even once action is raised, they must always be thinking about whether an acceptable settlement can be negotiated before the fee explosion that accompanies a proof hearing.