As my September report suggested, the pace of Presidential duties has picked up again after a brief summer lull. October kicked off with the Joint Professions’ Networking Group meeting at the Mercure Rougemont Hotel, where Exeter City Council Chief Executive and Growth Director Karime Hassan gave an entertaining presentation on his role in the redevelopment of the city centre, from modest beginnings in Queen Street providing the template for the granite pavements and stainless steel seating of the Princesshay Shopping Centre.
At the Admissions Ceremony held at the Guildhall in Exeter on 8th October, 17 of our two counties’ newly qualified solicitors received Certificates of Congratulations presented by His Honour Judge Erik Salomonsen and took the DASLS Hippocratic oath. I was delighted that we were joined by District Judges Clare Maunder, Richard Griffiths and Penny Ireland, Deputy Vice President Paul Kelly, several DASLS Past Presidents, the Chairs of three of our Sub-Committees, as well as justifiably proud members of the families of those receiving their Certificates. I was grateful to Honorary Secretary Chris Hart announcing the names of the recipients as they came up to meet HHJ Salomonsen and for an official photograph with him, and to Law Society Council Member Rod Mole for speaking about the work that goes on at Chancery Lane. In my welcome address, I made the point that the qualification of our newest solicitors is a big deal for them and a big deal for DASLS. They are the future of our profession and of our local Law Society.
Balancing the dual roles of President of DASLS and of the Association of South Western Law Societies (ASWLS) as evenly as possible, I was delighted to attend the Plymouth Law Society Annual Dinner on 5th October. It was held at the Duke of Cornwall Hotel and attended by approximately 130 lawyers. President Rhodri Davey and those who helped him stage the dinner did a fantastic job in providing an enjoyable and entertaining evening.
Left to Right
Mel Bevan-Evans, ASWLS Vice President
Rhodri Davey, Plymouth Law Society President
Stephen Mahoney, ASWLS & DASLS President
This was followed on 11th October by the Bristol Law Society’s
ninth annual Awards Ceremony and Dinner at the Marriott City Centre. As I tweeted at the time, this was an impressively organised and well delivered event, sold out with 420 attendees. In keeping with the evenings’ support for Blood Bikes, President Gary Lightwood (pictured opposite) arrived with crash helmet after a video of his motorbike journey from home to venue.
This brings me neatly on to the DASLS Legal Awards Ceremony and Dinner being held at Exeter Cathedral on 4th April next year. Regular planning and progress meetings are taking place with Grow. At the most recent one, they showed pictures of the Cathedral decked out for a recent dinner and awards. It looked stunning. Posh Nosh who catered for that event are doing the same for us and I’m looking forward to tasting the sample menu later in November.
I am sure it cannot have escaped your attention that the deadline for submission of nominations for DASLS Legal Awards is Friday 16th November. If you haven’t already put in your nomination – don’t delay, do it today. There is lots of helpful information on the DASLS website.
I’ve also chaired my first ASWLS Committee meeting. Those attending included three of our Law Society Council Members, Rod Mole, Jonathan Frayling and Steven Hudson. Despite the communications difficulties faced by many Council Members from other parts of the country, we are fortunate that those representing the South West do more effectively disseminate information on Council meetings. Rav Hothi, Head of The Law Society’s Relationship Management Team Midlands and South West, was at the meeting too. He is also a great help letting the Committee know what is happening at Chancery Lane.
By the time this report is published, I will have also attended the CILEx (Devon Branch) Autumn Ball and we will have held the Somerset Dinner at the County Cricket Ground in Taunton on 2nd November, at which our guest speaker will be the High Sheriff of Somerset, Denis Burn. I hope all attending the Dinner will be happy with the range of choice on the menu. If so, I’ll be pleased to take the credit for it. If not, it is all my wife’s fault! Here’s to a convivial evening for everyone.
CILEx Devon Branch Autumn Ball held on 27 October 2018
Stephen Mahoney with Gemma Rowe, Chair of CILEx Devon Branch
and below with ClLEx DVP Craig Tickner and Immediate Past President Millicent Grant
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Why did you join Devon & Somerset Law Society? It is a great opportunity to meet others within the profession and play an active role within the Society. Having been the Chair of the Social Sub-Committee for a few years now, I see first-hand how playing an active part of the Society really helps with understanding the profession and the different experiences and areas that people deal with on a daily basis. What is your dream job? I would love to have a sanctuary for stray dogs to be cared for. A set up similar to the final scene of the film 101 Dalmatians where there is a vast mansion and sprawling grounds! What has been the most embarrassing moment during your professional career? Spilling coffee down my crisp white shirt just before going into Court when I was newly qualified. I was already nervous so this just added to my anxiety! Which sort of work gives you the most job satisfaction? Knowing that I have supported my clients through their transaction. The feedback I receive is incredible and I can never fully explain to them how appreciative I am to know I made the process easier for them. What gets you up in the morning? The alarm doesn’t seem to do the job most of the time so it is the knowledge that there are three dogs waiting downstairs for their breakfast! What do you do in your spare time? When I am not in the office, as Chair of the Social Sub-Committee I am either meeting with my fellow committee members to discuss the next event, or taking part in one of our events with the Challenge Cup. It is always a lot of fun and I encourage anyone who would like to attend one of the events or be a part of the Sub-Committee to come along! When I am not undertaking my DASLS duties, I try and go to the gym around three to four times a week. It is a great stress reliever and helps you to feel better mentally and physically. Otherwise I am normally being a social butterfly keeping in touch with my friends. Time goes by very fast and so it is important to me to do this. What is the most recent film you have seen? I haven’t watched a new film for a long time! I tend to always go back to the classics such as Casablanca, Shawshank Redemption, and the Sixth Sense, being some of my favourites. What are your favourite food / restaurant? It has to be Mexican food. Mexico is one of my favourite places to visit and I cannot get enough of their food, and the cocktails to accompany it! I really enjoy visiting Las Iguanas in Torquay. On a sunny day looking out to the sea I can (nearly) feel like I am back in the Riviera Maya rather than the English Riviera! Where is your favourite holiday destination? When travelling long haul so far it has to be the Caribbean. I have visited several parts on various occasions and I love going back time and time again. I really do want to try the Indian Ocean next as a possible competitor! When travelling short haul, it has to be Ibiza. It truly is the most beautiful island on the Balearics with its stunning coastline, secret coves, and beautiful architecture. Believe me when I say it is definitely not all about partying there! What is your favourite pet? My favourite type of pet, as you can probably guess from a few of my answers already, is the dog. I have three wonderful (in my opinion!) Chihuahuas, and am very open to adding to the pack! What is your passion? Not a day goes by where I wake up in the morning and immediately reach for my headphones to listen to some music. A day is not worth living without music. It can accommodate any situation, and any emotion. Which famous person, dead or alive, would you most like to spend a day with? Freddie Mercury – I definitely think he would have some interesting stories to tell! Tell us an interesting fact about yourself. As of 1st November 2018 I will become a Partner of WBW Solicitors. I am so proud to...
By Emma Mitcham, Chair, International Relations Sub-Committee I found myself in an unseasonably arid Warsaw in mid-September for the intermediate meeting of the Federation des Barreaux d’Europe (FBE). Given the current issues with the erosion of judicial independence in Poland, it was cruelly ironic to be in that city 86% of which was destroyed by the Nazis and the Red Army in 1944. A city where the struggle for independence was waged by Polish insurgents and the civilians embroiled in it. That same quest being quelled by pillage and mass murder. But as the phoenix that lived in the desert for 500 years and consumed itself by fire, so too did Warsaw rise again. Renewed from its ashes. After the Second World war, the human rights mandate was given to the Council of Europe with the Convention on Human Rights; the development of the human rights monitoring process and eventually, the European Court of Human Rights. The FBE consists of 250-member bars from countries who are members states of the Council of Europe and which represents some 800,000 lawyers. The general and intermediate congresses may be the FBE’s showcase, but the nitty gritty of the FBE happens in its commissions. It happens by e-mail; by Skype and by meetings between the congresses. There are thirteen commissions in the FBE and they range from arbitration, ethics and new technologies to the future of the legal profession. Being involved and taking a collaborative approach means that we have a unique opportunity to cross pollinate ideas across jurisdictions. DASLS is one of only four English law societies who benefit from contributing in this way. I sit on the Human Rights commission and these are testing times when the rule of law is being fundamentally challenged. The rule of law may seem an ambiguous concept consigned to the yellowing pages of an antique textbook, but the tragedy is that it can only be understood by the consequences of failing to uphold it and worrying trends are appearing across countries not too far from ours. In Romania, the rule of law of law is under just as much threat now as nearly thirty years ago after the demise of the Ceausescu regime. Collusion between the secret services and judiciary; blackmailing of judges as well as mass surveillance of its citizens being some of the cases in point. Hungary has descended into authoritarianism with the commanding party in parliament controlling 90% of the media. Like Poland (and similarly facing EU sanctions), Hungary’s constitutional propriety is in question. The independence of the judiciary has been curbed by forcing many judges into retirement and limitations have been placed on the constitutional courts’ ability to hear reviews and complaints. In Serbia, lawyers have been attacked and murdered and, in Turkey, concern has been renewed about the continued arbitrary arrest, detention and prosecution of lawyers, judges and journalists. The general assembly of the FBE passed resolutions on all these issues. DASLS contribution was by way of a resolution about women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia. The modernising Crown Prince of the petrostate may have overturned a decade's long edict banning women from driving, but they are still subject to a myriad of restrictions. Our resolution highlighted the FBE’s grave concern about Saudi’s use of anti-terror laws to punish women’s rights defenders in an unrelenting crackdown on dissent. The detention and possible execution of the Saudi suffragettes is clearly incompatible with international standards. Saudi may be a long way from Devon and Somerset, but given that Exeter University has about seventy Saudi students (some of whom are studying law) suddenly the issue becomes closer to home. Such was the volume of resolutions passed at the intermediate congress in September across the commissions vis-à-vis human rights that it was unanimously agreed that this demanded an FBE working group to look at w...
One of the only known certainties is change and the legal profession continues to experience its fair share with the SRA’s new rules to promote price transparency by requiring firms to publish fees on their website. The SRA have issued guidance at https://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/guidance/ethics-guidance/price-transparency.page. DASLS member Trevor Hellawell has produced his own templates for each practice area that the SRA require publication. An order form is available at https://www.dasls.com/uploads/template-order-form.pdf The SRA’s changes to the training rules are now well established although they have had little impact on our autumn training programme which has been very well supported – thank you. We have commenced planning for 2019; please do tell us if there are speakers or topics that you would like included in the programme. Continuing a theme of change our 2018 Practice Management Conference is setting the scene for the future by looking at the challenges of Artificial Intelligence, Environmental Sustainability in Practice and various people management topics including the Gender Pay Gap. Following the Conference we plan to set up an Environmental Sustainability working group to identify and source products and services that can help firms reduce their carbon footprint. If you are interested in this please let me know. Arrangements for the Legal Awards 2019 are progressing quickly and now is the time to be submitting your nominations. With the support of our new media partner, Grow Marketing, the event will be hosted at Exeter Cathedral. Only a few events are permitted each year so this will be a very prestigious occasion that I am sure you will wish to be a part of. For more details see www.dalslegalawards.co.uk. And finally a challenge; if you have read this tell me: Are you entering the Legal Awards? Do you read Buzz? Do you support the services and events that DASLS offer; are they useful? Do you participate in any of our Committees and like what they do? Are there other activities that we could support? We would love to get some feedback– you can tweet us @DSLawSociety, leave a message on our Facebook Page @dasls or post to our Linkedin page. If you prefer our email and postal addresses still work! Tony Steiner Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org T. 01392 366444 ...
It is again the time of year when we invite members of the Society to help DASLS by seeking to join the main Committee and help with the Committee’s work. The main Committee is at the heart of the work and decision making of the Society and also helps to co-ordinate the important work of the many Sub-Committees. As a result membership of the main Committee can make a real difference to the Society and to the working life of solicitors across our two counties. The Committee is made up of the Officers of the Society together with (see Articles §7.1.5) “not less than 10 or more than 40 elected members”. In order to continue the effective work of the Committee new members are needed, and therefore nominations are requested. If you would like any further information please do not hesitate to contact the Honorary Secretary Chris Hart. If you would like to either be nominated or nominate someone for election please complete the form below. This form should please be returned to the Honorary Secretary Chris Hart by no later than 5.30pm on 31 January 2019. The election will take place at the 30th April 2019 AGM at the Exeter Golf & Country Club. TO: Chris Hart DASLS Honorary Secretary Aston Court, Pynes Hill, Exeter EX2 5AZ [DX 8361 Exeter] I wish to nominate Full name …………………………………………………………………………………….. of ……………………………………………………………………………………… for election to the main Committee and I confirm that the nominee is willing for his/her name to go forward. Signed …………………………………………………………….. Address …………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………… Year of Admission of Nominee ……………………….. Please return this nomination by 31 January 2019. ...
Dear All, This year really is flying by. I have just had my birthday. After updating you previously on the excellent catch up I had with the Law Society CEO Paul Tennant on his visit to the south west last November, I had not expected to be back in touch with him quite so soon. Sadly, this time it was in less happy circumstances. I was, like many of you, shocked and saddened in January to hear the news and see the pictures of the substantial fire at Chancery Lane in London. I have emailed Paul Tennant and James Shepherd, our Law Society Relationship Management Executive, to send our best wishes and we are hoping that the building will be back to full use very soon. As I write this report, preparations are in full swing for the 2020 DASLS Legal Awards & Dinner. As you know the Annual Dinner is being held again this year at Exeter Cathedral. The event is to take place on the 30th April 2020. After the success of last year, we are hoping that once again the event is sold out which would mean we will have around 480 people attending. If you have not done so already, please contact Llew Nicholls and the team at our Awards partners ‘Grow Marketing’ who have worked very hard alongside our very own Tony and Monique to achieve full sponsorship of this event. You can contact Llew to book the remaining places by emailing Llew directly at Llew@growmarketinguk.com. There have been more nominations than ever before with more entries making the short list. Please do not miss this dazzling occasion. You will all have received DASLS latest 2020 training courses programme. Tony Steiner and the team have worked hard to arrange these events. You will see that as members you get preferential rates and if appropriate reduced rates for multiple attendees from your firms. Please take advantage of these services as a proportion of the monies do go to support our Society’s broad continuing education offering. If I do not see you individually before I look forward to catching up with you at the 2020 DASLS Legal Awards and Annual Dinner in April. With very best wishes Nigel Lyons President 2019-2020...
The first big social event of the year was the annual DASLS Quiz which is the grand finale of the Challenge Cup. It is an event I thoroughly enjoy and I make no apology for making it a bit challenging. This year did not disappoint there being just ½ point between first and second place and resulting in joint winners of the Challenge Cup. Congratulations to Ashfords and Michelmores both of whom knew that the study of birds’ eggs is Oology. The next Challenge Cup kicks off with the usual Skittles match in Dawlish when the magnificent Skittles Cup will be contested. The latest meeting of the County Societies Group took place in February when we were guests of the SRA in Birmingham. DASLS Deputy Vice-President Adrian Richards and I attended. We were welcomed by their Chief Executive Paul Philip who set out some key messages around SRA activity emphasising their desire for light touch engagement with solicitors and good channels of communication. He said that the SRA was working well with The Law Society and was focused on creating an environment where solicitors could be innovative and use the latest in technology. AML is a key area of activity and following the appointment of the new Chair, Anna Bradley, they are working to provide better customer care. He also explained that until now the SRA had not taken any position on issues such as Access to Justice, Rule of Law and Advice Deserts. They were considering looking at, and taking a position on, one or two of these issues each year. There followed several presentations by senior staff at the SRA dealing with Enforcement Strategy and reporting concerns; Customer information – Transparency Rules and clickable logo.; the SQE and Anti-Money Laundering. Comprehensive slides were produced to accompany each presentation which I will forward together with my notes to any member who wishes to see them. Just email me —email@example.com. There followed an interesting tour of the building. SRA have around 600 staff members with the majority based over three floors at the Cube. The next meeting of the County Societies Group will be in the summer and we also plan a Parliamentary Liaison event at Westminster later in the year. I am pleased to announce that DASLS has two new Partners; Moneypenny who look after your telephone calls when you are not available and Dictate Now who offer Dictation Systems and outsourced document preparation. They join our current Partners: Alchemy; PKF Francis Clark; Landmark; Lockton; Unoccupied Direct; WebBoss and Wessex Searches. We are thankful for the support our partners give us and encourage you to use them where you can. Depending when you read this our joint event with the Legal Sustainability Alliance on 5th March will be about to take place or will have passed. Regular readers will know that the Society has formed a small working party to encourage and identify how firms can improve their sustainability. The main Committee have suggested that this forms a Sub-Committee. We will arrange a meeting of the working party after the event on the 5th March with a view to progressing this. Anyone who is interested in this please let me know. Tony Steiner, Executive Director DASLS....
You may know that DASLS is fortunate to be twinned with Bilbao, Erlangen, Gdańsk, Leuven, Rennes and Verona. Such twinning arrangements underpin a sense that we belong to one community of values on the basis that these relationships are based on reciprocity. Each year, we meet to discuss and debate important legal issues of the day, whilst discovering the cultures and languages of our partners. 2020 is DASLS turn to host such an event, which will be rounded off with the Sunday Legal Service at Exeter Cathedral on 7 June 2020 and to which DASLS members are cordially invited! The subject of our conference (on 5 June at County Hall in Exeter) will be around the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) in the sphere of human rights. Rather than understanding AI in terms of a terrifying post-apocalyptic vision of a world controlled by robots, AI features in our everyday lives from Alexa and smart home devices to controversial facial recognition technologies and even Uber! AI is built by lines of code called algorithms. Put simply, an algorithm is a step by step method of solving a problem and is commonly used for data processing and calculation. However, the use of automated data processing techniques in public and private sectors, especially by internet platforms and its impact on the exercise of human rights is somewhat of a hot topic. When it comes to AI, there is a focus on the usage of huge datasets. AI bias means when an algorithm produces results that may be prejudiced due to erroneous assumptions in the machine learning process and the data used to train the algorithm by data scientists. Bias runs deep in humans and it can be unconscious in nature. AI systems are created by individuals who have their own unique experiences and blind spots all of which can lead to fundamentally biased systems. This issue is compounded by the fact that those responsible for AI (including its deployment and training) may not be representative of society. Accordingly, unfair treatment of a group can result from the use of an algorithm to support decision making whether that decision relates to criminal sentencing, loan applications or self-driving cars. The language of AI is undoubtedly complex, but it is drastically changing the way we live. Understanding AI and its implications in the context of its growth is important so that we are all better placed to push companies to develop new technologies both ethically and responsibly. If you would like to receive more information once the June 2020 programme is finalised, please contact Monique Bertoni at DASLS office – firstname.lastname@example.org . Emma Mitcham Chair, International Relations Sub-Committee...
New AML Regulations and the pursuit of the beneficial owner. Introduction The new Money Laundering & Terrorist Finance (Amendment) Regulations 2019 which came into force on 10 January have modified a number of aspects of the 2017 AML Regulations, with which we have been complying for some time. However, many firms’ procedures hark back to the earlier days of the 2007 Regulations and have not been modified or updated much over recent years. This article seeks to set out what the new Regulations in fact require, and the steps we should be taking in relevant cases. The Policy It has been true for some time that the ultimate aim of all the regulatory rules is transparency – it has always been the case that the use of artificial structures such as trusts, companies, bearer shares, foundations and charities – whilst perfectly legal – have to some extent also benefitted from the extra anonymity they offer to the true owner and recipient of the funds and services we provide. If we offer services to these types of entity, the Regulations require us to go some way to identifying the individuals who are actually benefitting from our services, and this entails uncovering the true ownership of the organisation. Whilst this would be difficult in many instances – Cayman Island companies with bearer shares, for example – we must nevertheless attempt to get some assurances from the creators of the companies, accountants or registrars as to the ownership of the shares, and have some way of being notified of any change in ownership. We also need to be aware of the PEP and Sanctions status of these individuals. Further, for UK companies, the PSC Regulations 2016 impose an exactly similar obligation on the companies themselves to identify their beneficial owners and notify Companies House of any shareholder with 25% or more of the shares or exercising control over management of the business. The Regulations The Regulations provide that we must, as part of our CDD procedures Identify the client – this means coming to know who they are, by name and some other characteristic, e.g. address, date of birth, date of incorporation Verify that identity – by means of reliable and independent data and documentation Identify the beneficial owner (if the client is an entity) – though not necessarily verifying that identity Identify and verify the identity of the person actually instructing us (if not already done). What this means for us When acting for a COMPANY (that is not a listed company) the Regulations require us to obtain Details of the company as registered (which must be proven by a copy of the register entries available from Companies House or equivalent registry) – name, number, registered office address, principal place of business the law to which it is subject details of its governing documentation (its memorandum) names of the directors. Names of any beneficial owners, and the identity of any individual owners of legal entities which own the client Names and verification of the persons instructing us on behalf of the company, and their authority to do so. Note that we cannot rely on the information provided by the company under the PSC Regulations but we must undertake our own research in order to fulfil our CDD duties. Further, if as part of that research, we discover that the Companies House data on PSC’s is incorrect, then we are now under a further obligation to notify the Registrar of Companies of this fact. We also need to establish that PEPs and Sanctions checks are also undertaken. If genuinely positive entries are revealed in response we should undertake enhanced CDD steps or cease to act, accordingly. Electronic searches are a permissible avenue to use provided the search provider can offer us the necessary assurances that the person actually claiming an identity is IN FACT that person. Check also whether ...
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