GRAD DIARY| October 2014 Legal News Review & Commentary

Theme: Media

Case/Update
Royal Charter in Press Regulation

Area
Media

What to Note
Critics have said that the Royal Charter is a threat to press freedom, however it has been stated by others that intentions are to ensure news is presented in an unbiased way.

Make the Connection
This is a post-Leveson move toward media regulation. There are concerns regarding the ambiguous wording of the Royal Charter such as the reference to websites containing news related materials – is this going to impact political bloggers?


 Case/Update

Houghton v Closer magazine

Area
Journalism/Media law

What to Note
Claimant wanted the source of a magazine story, concerning the claimant, revealed. Mr Justice Hayden refused application, stating “the integrity of sources is fundamental to the operation of a free press in a democratic society.”

Make the Connection
The media industry is under considerable pressure facing discussions surrounding appropriate control measures. Whilst this is largely related to presentation of the news, this area of legislative change should be observed as the new measures may begin to affect other areas of journalism. Law firms may experience an increase in the need for legal support from clients within the news industry during the transitional periods toward tighter regulation.

Theme: Children’s Rights in the UK

Case/Update
Family Justice Minister Simon Hughes calls for urgent review of legal aid reform.

Area
Legal Aid & family law

What to Note
Simon Hughes has expressed fears that vulnerable children are being denied access to justice under the legal aid reform.

Make the Connection
We are still seeing teething problems with the legal aid reforms and although the government has argued that such austerity measures are necessary many still feel there is gap between the vulnerable and justice,

With elections looming, will we see a new government? Could we see a new approach to this issue?


Case/Update
Children deprived of UN Charter Rights

Area
Legal Aid & family law

What to Note
The Children’s Commissioner Maggie Atkins has stated that children in the UK are being deprived of their rights to be heard, have their interests considered and to not be separated from their parents due to lack of legal support and representation in a complex legal system.

Make the Connection
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is being breached in the UK.

Theme:  Evolution of the Global Legal-Service Landscape

Case/Update
Hong Kong considers adopting ABS

Area
Alternative Business Structures

What to Note
The Alternative Business Structure, which has been met with mixed reviews from the legal profession in the UK, could become a global business/law corporate architecture.

Make the Connection
1) The legal service sector is experiencing global change. A move away from traditional law firm structuring could pave the way for further evolution in a typically traditional sector.

2) The consideration of introducing ABS’ into Hong Kong is a reaction to the increasing pressures on the profitability of the Hong Kong legal sector following new market entrants PWC and Ernst Young.


Case/Update
SRA supports more ABS’

Area
Alternative Business Structures

What to Note
The Solicitors Regulatory Authority is encouraging more ABS’ to form through the proposal that all multi-disciplinary practices do not have to have their legal work regulated by the SRA if it constitutes part of another professional service such as accountancy.

Make the Connection
This move will further increase the pressure faced by Hong Kong, as previously discussed.

Some question whether the SRA should be loosening its grip on legal services, could this lead to sub-standard legal advice?

Further legal sector entry barriers are being removed, if this encourages more organisations to become ABS’, hypothetically there may be a rise in jobs for lawyers within the UK.

This post can also be found published on Grad Diary.com

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