Edward Fennell’s Legal Diary – Edition 69

Friday 13 August 2021 


Diary news, commentary, insights, appointments and e-vents from the legal world



“I won it playing tiddly-winks” Image Courtesy Houston DCA

Google ‘AML’ and you will be offered two options – Anti Money Laundering for lawyers but the alternative, if you are medically-minded, is Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML), a particularly aggressive form of cancer.

But maybe money laundering IS the cancer of our business system – after all, the drug business, fraud, corruption and modern slavery are all facilitated through it. Yet according to a recent survey of over 300 UK law sector compliance professionals, conducted by Accuity, a LexisNexis® Risk Solutions company, in association with the Law Society,Fee earners remain unsold on the value of AML compliance.’ The problems cited by the reluctant partners focus particularly on the time taken to collate relevant information and the level and quality of data available on clients.

Understandably, the grind of checking out the reliability of clients and the source of their income is an undesirable chore for law firms. Whether they like it or not, however, lawyers represent the best front line in the fight against modern criminals. They control the vital portal into the mainstream. It may be tedious but it also represents good citizenship.

The LegalDiarist


In this week’s edition

+ SHORT THOUGHT on money-laundering with Accuity


– Pioneering a fertility policy (at Phillips Solicitors)

Just managing (at Linklaters)?

Hold Up in the Fast Lane to Whiplash Reforms (says Call Brian)-

– Legal Realities Post-Pandemic (according to Bolt Burdon Kemp)

+ A LEGAL HISTORY OF MARRIAGE: ALL CHANGE IN THE 16th CENTURY – The second in Emma Nash’s series

+ APPOINTMENT OF THE WEEK with Addleshaw Goddard




– Pioneering a fertility policy (at Phillips Solicitors)


Finding a Way

A new frontier has been opened in the field of staff welfare by Basingstoke-based law firm Phillips which has just announced what it describes as a ‘pioneering policy to support employees who are struggling to conceive’.

Under the new scheme the firm will provide financial and emotional backing at what is often an emotionally-charged time for those struggling to conceive. This includes five additional days of leave for hospital visits and for post treatment recovery and an interest-free loan of up to £5,000 to cover the costs of fertility treatment. (Recent NHS estimates put the cost of one single cycle of treatment at £5,000. However the estimated success rate of the treatment amongst women aged 38 to 39 stands at at 15%.)

Jack Gardener leading Phillips

In announcing the move Jack Gardener, the Director of the firm and himself a recent father said, “I have witnessed the emotional and financial stress that can impact couples trying to conceive. At Phillips, we strive to support staff well-being beyond the workplace and through some of life’s major milestones.”

The new policy is designed not just to raise awareness but also to recognises the importance of being able to take time away from the office, to recuperate and gives what can be a stressful process the highest chance of success possible.

“It is baffling that many large businesses support employees to purchase annual travel tickets, bicycles or cars but may not have considered helping their employees through significant periods in their lives,” said Gardener who was formerly with White & Case before returning to his home region. “I hope we will set an example for the law industry and beyond to think innovatively about the range of support they can provide their staff beyond the workplace.”

Phillips has over 70 staff and incorporates Brain Chase Coles. The fertility policy comes in the wake of significant enhancements to maternity, miscarriage and menopause policies.


– Just managing (at Linklaters)?

Back in the day there used to be a hackneyed saying around IT procurement managers that ‘Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM’. As a highly regarded global business with an enviable list of clients ‘Big Blue’ had reached the tipping point of market popularity. It was Number One and it was almost unassailable.

So time moves on but maybe the same blessed state has descended on iManage. After all, the announcement this week that Linklaters has joined the other members of the City’s Magic Circle firms in adopting iManage Work in the Cloud for its secure document and email management and collaboration does rather look like ‘game, set and match’ to the product.

So it’s out with the old and in with the new. As the supplier observes, “iManage Work 10 will replace Linklaters’ existing document management and email filing systems to deliver a single, unified platform to its 6,500 global professionals.”

Of course, what is striking is that major law firms are no longer passive customers in this transaction having nurtured their own in-house IT expertise. In Linklaters’ case they have developed innovative AI solutions powered by iManage’s advanced AI engine to automate laborious tasks, The result is that taks which used to take days now take just minutes. Hence Linklaters MFNiQ, system is able to accelerate legal data comparisons in fundraising deals. No doubt iManage will be overtaken or eclipsed in its turn. But for the time being it’s managing very nicely thank you.

– Hold Up in the Fast Lane to Whiplash Reforms (says Call Brian)

The bureaucracy is even worse then the pain

Having followed the Whiplash reforms with interest, with frustration and then with exasperation for many years the LegalDiarist could not quite believe it would all be over when the Government’s new Official Injury Claim portal opened. Surely such a saga could not conclude on such a tranquil ending?

The LegalDiarist was right. According to a leading accident management expert, the new portal has added a significant level of complexity to accident claims for young people. Indeed, less than three months after its introduction on 31st of May, Call Brian, an automated accident management company, has called into question the UK Government’s whole new ‘Whiplash Reform Programme’. In particular Call Brian highlights the lengthy admin involved with the new process, as well as the detailed knowledge required to assess the complexity and duration of any medical injuries incurred. “Young drivers are particularly vulnerable in this market,” said Russell Atkinson, Chairman of the Call Brian Group.

“Buying your first car, the insurance associated with it – it’s a big investment. But what we are really pinpointing here, in terms of the new injury claims process, is the cost of complexity.

“It’s completely impossible for drivers to understand the full cost of whiplash for example – it could have you off work or university for a days, months or even a year. Without first going to a medical professional or having that sound advice, you are completely in the dark.”

Applicants using the system must not only negotiate the complex online system they will also have to follow 64-page guide to the law. The result, says Russell, is that drivers could be receiving lower compensation claim payouts than they deserve.

“The Government introduced this new process to weed out the fraudsters looking for an easy payday, and rightly so, but I would argue that this has now come at the cost of genuine claimants.

“If a motorist has incorrectly assessed the extent of his or her injuries, which is highly likely given the lack of assistance or clarity given with the new portal, then they could be done out of thousands of pounds.”

A tricky one this. But then if the law was simple who would need lawyers?

– Legal Realities Post-Pandemic (according to Bolt Burdon Kemp)

 New research by specialist lawyers Bolt Burdon Kemp (BBK) suggests that while the legal aid system has been heavily stressed for years the pandemic has made things significantly worse.

It is worth remembering that seventy years ago, amidst the flurry of post-WW2 reforms, 80% of British people had access to free or affordable legal help. “But by 2007, this had reduced to only 27%, and in 2013, austerity measures  [ including the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act ] cut this even further,” points out BBK.

 Now seven out of ten of legal aid clients are from BAME backgrounds and “They’ll be the worst affected if legal aid cuts continue. “

Maybe in the light of this it is not surprising that almost half the population does not understand the legal aid system or how it works. And neither is it a surprise that the regions in England with the highest legal aid expenditure are also the most deprived. So Legal Aid – will you be out on the streets clapping for it? (Or just praying that you never need it.)

P.S. And just a reminder, for civil cases, legal aid can be used to meet the costs of legal advice for serious issues, such as: 

  • losing a home 
  • domestic violence 
  • discrimination 
  • asylum or immigration 
  • welfare benefits 
  • inquests 
  • But in order to qualify claimants must show evidence that they’re unable to meet the costs of legal help, which means: 
  • Having less than £8,000 in capital assets 
  • Earning less than £2,657 per month 
  • Having less than £733 in disposable income 

For more go to https://www.boltburdonkemp.co.uk/campaigns/inequality-in-britains-legal-aid-funding-system/



Henry VIII – Also a great divorce reformer?

In the second in her series about the evolving legal history of marriage EMMA NASH examines the contrast between pre- to post-Reformation attitudes

In the 4th century AD, Emperor Constantine adopted Christianity as the state religion in Rome and, over the next 1200 years, Catholicism became the dominant spiritual authority in Western Europe. The key feature for defining and regulating personal relationships was sex, or a lack thereof. Celibacy and virginity outside of marriage were extolled and sex was only permitted within marriage for the purpose of reproduction. Marriage itself was intrinsically linked to God and divorce was only available in extremely limited circumstances and only with the permission of the Church.

By the early 1500s, the Catholic Church led by the Pope in Rome wielded a huge amount of power over states, sovereigns and citizens alike. The Protestant Reformation, which started in 1517, presented an alternative doctrine for living a Christian life and weakened the power and control of Rome within Europe.

To protestants, marriage was not a divine union but an earthly one which should be subject to the law of the state. Divorce was more readily available including the freedom to re-marry thereafter. Henry VIII, having initially been rewarded by the Pope for his condemnation of Protestantism, famously broke from the Catholic Church and established the Church of England so that he could divorce Catherine of Aragon and re-marry Anne Boleyn in the hope of achieving a male heir.

The Catholic Church responded to the Reformation by holding the Council of Trent which sat from 1545 to 1563 and issued decrees reaffirming the Church’s authority and condemning protestant practices. In November 1563, the Council decreed that the Catholic Church had exclusive jurisdiction over marriage and secured that control by stating that, for a marriage to be valid, it had to take place before a priest and two witnesses.

The connection between marriage and God was reaffirmed with marriage being declared a sacrament and so indissoluble, effectively outlawing divorce for a Catholic couple. From the latter half of the 16th century onwards in Europe, who and how you could marry, divorce or re-marry became dependent largely on whether you lived under a Catholic or Protestant monarch.

Emma Nash is a partner with Fletcher Day




Carl Posern is joining Addleshaw Goddard as a partner in its structured finance practice which has had a very busy year working on a very broad range of transactions. Having had almost fourteen years’ experience in both London and Frankfurt Carl is also German-qualified, enabling him to work alongside AG’s Germany team.

Carl Posern

Amanda Gray, divisional managing partner for finance and projects at the firm, said: “We are very excited about how our highly respected City finance practice is evolving. The development of our structured finance team is just one aspect of that. We’ve recently made a number of high-profile hires which enhance our ability to deliver for clients. We are delighted to welcome Carl to this busy and fast growing team.”


E-VENTS with Kids Law and BDB Pitmans



Have a listen to Kids Law’s BRAND NEW episode:

Listen here via our brand new website

Series 1 Episode 10: Does Parliament take the voices of children into account when it makes new laws?

In our tenth and final episode of Series 1, Alma-Constance talks to Darren Jones, the MP for Bristol North West, about his job as a Member of Parliament (MP) in the UK. Darren made the transition from being a lawyer working in telecommunications, to becoming a politician, and we wanted to find out more!

Alma-Constance asks Darren:
🔹What does an MP do?
🔹How do MPs make laws?
🔹What is the difference between being a lawyer and being a politician?
🔹How did you get elected
🔹Why are MPs allowed to shout at each other in the House of Commons?
🔹Are children’s voices heard when laws are made?
🔹Should the voting age in the UK be lowered?
 About our guest:
Darren Jones is the current MP for Bristol North West, the area where he grew up. He is the first and only MP for Bristol North West to be born in the area, and is also the Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee. Darren became a solicitor in 2013, specialising in technology law, before being elected as a Labour MP in 2017, becoming the first Darren ever to be elected to Parliament!


Following the launch of our HR Pathfinder webinar last month – where we discussed the challenges and opportunities for employers provided by the new world beyond COVID-19 – what are the practical HR issues that organisations need to consider as employees start to return to their workplaces in larger numbers?

We would be delighted if you could join us for our Employment Webinar where will be looking at the essential points in this area including: 
How will working patterns need to adapt to the “new normal”?
What are the new discrimination risks from hybrid working?
Can you justify compulsory vaccinations for staff?
What steps can you take if staff don’t want to return to work?
What will the end of furlough mean for employers?

This will be an interactive session where you will be able to ask questions of our expert panel.We look forward to welcoming you.

If you would like to attend, please RSVP here or click the button on this mailing.

The session will be held using Zoom, a link will be sent to you in your registration confirmation email and will also be re-sent on the morning of the webinar.Follow us @BDBPitmans #BuildingBetter


Funny old Summer, isn’t it? But we’ll be back next week so please send your DIARY style news to



Enjoy the weekend.




Your holiday reading – a medieval mystery featuring a lawyer, a knight, a Wife of Bath and a prioress, all pilgrims on their way to Canterbury in time of revolt.

It all ends in the Temple


Medieval lawyers – what did they know?

For more go to

IN UK: https://www.bookdepository.com/CHARTER-FOR-MURDER-Edward-

Fennell/9781919616117IN US: https://www.superbookdeals.com/cgi-bin/cart.cgi?item=43102405&bisac=

E-Book https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/search?query=Charter+for+Murder+by+Edward+Fennell

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