A round-up of the week’s news
Solicitors with a head for heights may consider retraining for a new career after perusing the government’s latest prediction about the impact of artificial intelligence. According to a study published by the Department for Education, ‘roofers, roof tilers and slaters’ are second only to ‘sports players’ in the list of jobs least likely to be replaced by artificial intelligence. Solicitors, by contrast, rank second on the list of occupations most exposed.
A solicitor MP accused CILEX of trying to destroy the solicitor profession with proposals to change the title of legal executives to ‘chartered lawyer’ and switch regulator to the SRA. Conservative MP James Daly made his views of CILEX’s proposals known at a meeting of the Commons justice select committee, which heard evidence from CILEX representatives on professional regulation.
A holiday sickness claimant who presented uncontested expert evidence and then lost his case was denied a fair trial, the Supreme Court ruled in widely watched TUI UK Ltd v Griffiths. Justices unanimously upheld an appeal from Peter Griffiths and said the trial judge had been wrong to allow defendant TUI to make detailed attacks on an expert witness report which had backed his claim. The outcome will be welcomed by lawyers sitting on hundreds of similar cases where holiday sickness claims have been challenged by insurers.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority ruled out an immediate one-off levy on solicitors to pay for the Axiom Ince debacle. But the regulator has also decided not to cap compensation claims from clients of the collapsed firm – so a hike in compensation fund contributions is possible next year. More than £60m is understood to be missing from the client account.
Around 80 conveyancing firms were unable to complete transactions following a cyber incident affecting IT provider CTS.
Nearly half of unmarried couples do not know they would lack certain legal rights should they split up. That is according to a survey by family law group Resolution, which published a blueprint for the future of family justice calling for cohabitation law to be reformed.
Two law firms are to face tribunal charges in connection with ‘abusive litigation’, while the cases of six firms accused of strategic litigation against public participation (SLAPPs) are currently awaiting a prosecution decision, a senior executive of the Solicitors Regulation Authority told the UK anti-SLAPPs conference.
National firm Ashfords LLP was fined more than £100,000 by the Solicitors Regulation Authority for money laundering compliance failures reported by the firm. The fine, the fourth-largest ever imposed by the SRA, was agreed despite the regulator stating that there was no suggestion that any money laundering or other financial crime took place.
A judge overruled the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal’s decision to slash the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s costs claim in a strike-off case. The regulator had sought £22,800 in the case last January but the tribunal awarded only £5,000. Ruling on an appeal by the SRA, a deputy High Court judge assessed the costs payable at £19,468.
Oversight regulator the Legal Services Board is seeking a 14% increase in its annual budget. Board papers show that the provisional budget for 2024/25 has been set at £5.33m – an increase of £650,000 on the current year.
Ministry of Justice officials are working on ways to make transcripts of court proceedings available to victims of crime, but minister Mike Freer MP did not respond in parliament to calls for immediate legislation to make this possible. Freer was speaking in an adjournment debate tabled by Lib Dem MP Sarah Olney, who cited the case of a rape victim being charged £7,500 for a transcript of her assailant’s trial.
MPs will take a deep dive into the probate system amid concerns about delays and consumer protection. The Commons justice committee announced that it would begin an inquiry after noting that waiting times for probate almost doubled in the year to April.
A ‘staggering’ four out of five London litigators are involved in cases where one or both parties are financed by a litigation funder – and nine out 10 litigators believe it is time the third-party finance sector was regulated. These were among the headline findings of this year’s litigation trends survey, conducted by the London Solicitors Litigation Association.