The Ministry of Justice is inviting nominations for the 2013/14 round of Queen’s Counsel hononoris causa (honorary silk) awards. These opened on 6 June 2013.

For the Law Society, nominations are invited who are members of the law society but not barristers. Only the highest quality individuals will be nominated for the honorary QC award, so you must meet the highest criteria of the legal profession. It is not only the legal sector but the general public have been invited to make nominations too, as the QC award is open to as many professional associations as possible. Therefore the Society is seeking the brightest and the best.

The way in which to make a nomination for this process is by providing basic personal details and the following:

  • Legal qualifications and legal experience to date;
  • What significant contribution have they made to the law in England and Wales but not in court;
  • What in your opinion have their major contribution – beyond what might normally be expected for someone in their position; and
  • Why you think this person should represent should represent the Society at one of the highest levels as an honorary QC.

For further information you can download the nomination forms from the MoJ website.

Send the completed nomination forms to the MoJ preferably by email by 9 August, or alternatively by post to:

Jo SawyersMinistry of Justice4.37102 Petty FranceLondonSW1 9AJ

For further information, Email Joanna Sawyers.

Jackson exemptionInsolvency practitioners will put together a dossier of evidence to persuade the government to make permanent their exemption from the Jackson reforms. Insolvency litigation was left out of civil justice reforms that came into force in April after the Ministry of Justice granted a two-year delay. Practitioners can submit evidence through the website of the Association of Business Recovery Professionals.

Recruitment drive for civil judges

The Judicial Appointments Commission has opened a competition to recruit civil district judges across the country. There are 42.5 posts, some part-time. The salary is £103,950 and the closing date for applications is 9 July. For details see the website of the Judicial Appointments Commission.

Rates guide held back

Recommendations for new guideline hourly costs rates are to be put back by four months to the end of March 2014. The costs committee of the Civil Justice Council confirmed the extension following agreement from master of the rolls Lord Dyson. The committee will also consider different guideline hourly rates for some specialist areas of law.

Scots to replace SDLT

The Law Society of Scotland has welcomed legislation that will introduce a new tax to replace stamp duty land tax (SDLT) on property transactions in Scotland from April 2015. The legislation is the first tax bill passed by a Scottish parliament in over 300 years.

Silence seen as guilt

Saying ‘no comment’ to police can make one appear guilty, according to research from Glasgow Caledonian University. Four police statements were given to 34 participants who rated each for believability and then gave a verdict. Suspects who said little were seen as more likely to be guilty.

Society pays Living Wage

The Law Society has been accredited as a Living Wage Employer, paying all staff at least a living wage set independently and updated annually based on the cost of living.

Rise in judicial complaints

Some 2,154 complaints against judicial office holders were received by the Office for Judicial Complaints in 2012/13, a one-third increase on the previous year. Judy Anckorn, head of the OJC, said: ‘Despite the increase, only 55 cases required a disciplinary sanction, a very small proportion of the total.’

Three practices share pro bono award

Three firms – DLA Piper; Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy; and Dentons – shared the 2013 LawWorks pro bono award for the best contribution by a law firm. Allen & Overy partner Edward Murray won the award for best contribution by a partner. See the full list of winners at the LawWorks website.

Bar limbers up for ABSs

The Bar Standards Board has simplified criteria for approving new business entities, ahead of an application to become a licensing authority for alternative business structures. Several compulsory rules are to be made discretionary to make the authorisation regime more ‘agile’. These currently oblige entities to have at least one practising barrister who is a manager and owner; have an owner that is also a manager; and conduct only ‘legal activities’. The BSB will apply to license ABSs after its ‘non- ABS’ entity regulation regime is approved.