Old Bailey protest

A demonstration to celebrate 64 years of legal aid and protest against the government’s proposed cuts will take place outside the Old Bailey on 30 July at 4.30pm. Organised by the Justice Alliance, it will hear from speakers including Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti and Shauneen Lambe from Just For Kids Law.

New group for women lawyers

Mary-Ann Wright, a partner at national law firm DWF, has been elected as the first chair of the Women Lawyers Division of England and Wales. The division, set up in March, builds on the experience of the Association of Women Solicitors and is designed to help women working in the legal profession fulfil their career ambitions.

Attorney fees cut

The cost of registering lasting and enduring powers of attorney will fall by £20 from 1 October. The Office of the Public Guardian said the reduction from £130 to £110 was made possible by new technology.

Pollution case plea

The Supreme Court has asked the Court of Justice of the EU to fast-track environmental activist group ClientEarth’s case against the UK government over its failure to meet air quality standards. If the court complies, the case could be heard this year.

Geldards snaps up TPP

National law firm Geldards has acquired London-based public services practice TPP Law. TPP Law’s managing director Mark Johnson will become a partner at Geldards. Geldards will retain the trading name of TPP Law for a temporary period.

Colombia human rights anniversary

A lawyers’ collective in Colombia has celebrated 35 years of commitment to the defence of human rights despite the ‘constant death threats’ received by its members. The José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers Collective marked the anniversary by forming an international council.

Will quality scheme interest

The Law Society has received more than 800 expressions of interest in the Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme since its launch earlier this month.

No insurance 'dividend'

A professional indemnity insurance (PII) ‘dividend’ for law firms – cheaper premiums and greater cover – has so far failed to materialise, despite the demise of the assigned risks pool and the end of the 1 October single renewal date. That is the current position as solicitors enter the 2013 PII renewal season.

Whereas the top-100 law firms can expect the cost of premiums to be the same or slightly lower than in 2012, the evidence so far is that the number of rated insurers that small and medium-sized law firms can obtain cover from has reduced. According to a Law Society list of ‘participating insurers’, rated insurer Aviva is not writing cover for this part of the profession. For larger firms, with 11-plus partners, LIBRA is the only new entrant so far.

Diversity business lift

Monitoring diversity data relating to sexual orientation, ethnicity and other characteristics ‘can help firms win business’, according to Law Society president Nick Fluck. Fluck, who became president on 11 July, told the Gazette: ‘Questions on the diversity profile of firms are being included in tendering processes by a growing number of public and private sector organisations. Monitoring can help firms win business, strengthen their reputation and meet regulatory requirements.’ He was speaking after the SRA, as required by overarching regulator the Legal Services Board, set in motion the collection of diversity data.

Lobbying bill exemptions

Law firms that lobby on behalf of their clients will escape the provisions of the government’s new lobbying bill, according to transparency pressure group Unlock Democracy. The group said plans to force firms to declare whom they represent would exempt 80% of the lobbying industry.

Human rights probe

The parliamentary joint committee on human rights has opened an inquiry into the implications for access to justice of the government’s proposed legal aid cuts. It will consider the introduction of a residency test, the removal of legal aid for prison law and limits on judicial review funding. Written evidence is sought by 27 September.