Archive for September, 2012

3 banking issues to watch

Brought to you by our friends at Osborne Clarke

Since the start of the financial crisis, banks have been front page news. But sometimes the issues involved get glossed over in the rush to print the particular headline. Here is a summary of three of the big issues facing banks at the moment.

1. Libor rate fixing
This concerns the London inter bank lending rate and follows Barclays being fined £290m in June for some of its traders have tried to rig the rate. At the time it forced Barclays Chief Executive and Chairman to resign. But what will be interesting going forward is whether all of this and any further evidence which comes to light leads to any legal actions for compensation from any groups which may have been affected. 

2. Interest rate swap mis-selling
This issue is about the possibility that banks were selling products involving interest rate swaps without fully explaining the risks which were involved. When losses have resulted, people start to question again whether compensation might be a possibility. It’s another hot issue to watch although round one at least went to the banks when RBS won a claim against them in Scotland last month.

3. Leverage ratios
This isn’t about legal cases yet but is likely to be the focus of enormous debate in the coming months and it concerns what percentage of their overall lending the banks must retain in capital. Europe has indicated 3% in their Basel III agreement as does the government White Paper whereas the Independent Commission on Banking led by Sir John Vickers recommended just over 4%.

Of course, this is all just scratching the surface and if you really need advice on banking issues then you might consider instructing a banking law solicitor.

Osborne Clarke solicitors are leading specialists in banking law.

September 30, 2012 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Sponsored post: Big cats at the Bar @TheICLR

An older barrister was in chambers this morning questioning HeadClerk about why he hadn’t had any decent briefs in the last few months.
“Very sad to see,” whispered OldSmoothie. “He used to be the very best there was but for whatever reason, solicitors have more recently looked elsewhere.”
“Reminds me of the roar of a dying lion,” said UpTights.
“It will come to us all,” said OldSmoothie. “The only question is when.”
“That’s if the bar even survives all the changes that are going on,” said UpTights.
“Ah, the paranoia of the bar,” said TheBusker. “You know, I overheard one of the more junior members of chambers turning down a three thousand pound brief the other day because they’re felling a little tired and wanted a week away in Barbados. If we’re talking animals, it reminded me of a spoilt little kitten licking itself after having already  had its fill of cream.”
“Yes, that’s all very well until they start to realise that there are more kittens coming up behind them starting to steal that cream,” said BusyBody.
“But surely there’s enough to go round for everybody,” said one of the pupils.
“Ah, the innocence of youth,” said HeadofChambers.
“You arrive at the Bar,” said UpTights looking a little manic, “and fight to build a practice against other barristers doing just the same. Then once you’ve done that you cling onto it for as long as you possibly can. The one day, you wake up and wonder what on earth all the nonsense was all about.”
“Well, the young grow old as surely as lawyers get rich,” said OldRuin. “But one thing which has remained a constant throughout is the quality of the ICLR and I have to admit that despite my occasional difficulties with technology, I’m thoroughly enjoying using the ICLR online.”

September 30, 2012 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Posted in: ICLR, Sponsored

Book Recommendation: The Arvon Book of Crime and Thriller Writing

I was delighted to hear that barrister Alex McBride, the author of the excellent Defending the Guilty has been included in The Arvon Book of Crime and Thriller Writing along with other such luminaries as Lee Child, Val McDermind and Ian Rankin. Buy it on amazon. You can watch a Skypecast interview I did with Alex here.

September 27, 2012 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Book Recommendation: Silks by Dick Francis and Felix Francis

There are few thriller writers who have had such long and distinguished careers as Dick Francis, and his lengthy series of books (with their zesty recreations of the racing world) are among many readers’ favourite novels in the genre. Recently, ill-health seemed to threaten the author’s reliable productivity, and the death of his wife (who had long been a behind-the-scenes collaborator on his books) made it appear that the golden days of the Dick Francis racing thriller were firmly in the past. However, here is Silks, the result of a collaboration between Dick Francis and his son Felix — and it will be a welcome arrival for the legions of Francis admirers.

Julian Trent is found guilty of a violent unprovoked attack on an innocent family and a charge of attempted murder. He is accused by the judge of showing no remorse for his actions, but receives a remarkably light sentence. Surprisingly, this news is not welcome to his defence barrister, Geoffrey Mason, who was secretly hoping for a more severe judgement against his client, whom he does not like. Mason is a part-time jockey (this is a novel with Dick Francis’s name on the jacket, after all), and when Mason dons his racing silks and travels to Sandown to follow his real passion — riding a thoroughbred in a heated steeplechase — he finds that he cannot leave the violence that is often the bread and butter of his profession behind him A fellow rider is savagely killed by a pitchfork driven through the chest, and there is a persuasive amount of evidence against champion jockey Steve Mitchell as the killer, but Mason becomes involved — and finds all the various aspects of his life coalescing in a lethal fashion.

Dick Francis has 41 novels under his belt, and remains the consummate thriller practitioner. Felix, his son, had helped with the research on his father’s novels over the last 40 years (notably Twice ShyShattered and Under Orders). Silks is their second full collaboration after Dead Heat, and should provides Francis aficionados with all the elements they’ve grown accustomed to. —Barry Forshaw

Available from Amazon

September 26, 2012 · babybarista · Comments Closed
Posted in: books

Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons, 24th September 2012

This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including Lawyers Uncovered. He also does the cartoons for BabyBarista and has had two more excellent books published recently: 101 Ways to Leave the Law and 101 Uses for a Useless Banker. He offers almost all of his cartoons for sale at £120 for originals and £40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

September 24, 2012 · babybarista · Comments Closed
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Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons, 17th September 2012

This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including Lawyers Uncovered. He also does the cartoons for BabyBarista and has had two more excellent books published recently: 101 Ways to Leave the Law and 101 Uses for a Useless Banker. He offers almost all of his cartoons for sale at £120 for originals and £40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

September 17, 2012 · babybarista · Comments Closed
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Book Recommendation: A Game of Proof by Tim Vicary

A mother’s worst nightmare – can her son be guilty of murder?

Sarah Newby, who left school at 15, and was living as a teenage single parent on an inner-city estate, has worked her way up to begin a career as a criminal barrister. Then in a terrible irony her own son, Simon, is arrested and charged with a series of brutal rapes and murders. The evidence against him appears so strong that his QC advises a guilty plea, but Simon swears he is innocent and begs his mother take on his defence. There is no law against a mother representing her son, so Sarah agrees. The only other obvious suspect for the murders, however, is a man who has already been acquitted once – with Sarah acting as his defence lawyer …

Has Sarah, in her single-minded determination to create a career for herself, neglected her son so much that she no longer knows him? Since he has often lied to her in the past, how can she trust him when he says he is innocent this time? And what should she do when she herself uncovers evidence that seems to suggest his guilt?

It seems that telling the whole truth must be weighed in the balance against keeping certain information well hidden …

Available from Amazon

September 12, 2012 · babybarista · Comments Closed
Posted in: books

Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons, 10th September 2012

This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including Lawyers Uncovered. He also does the cartoons for BabyBarista and has had two more excellent books published recently: 101 Ways to Leave the Law and 101 Uses for a Useless Banker. He offers almost all of his cartoons for sale at £120 for originals and £40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

September 10, 2012 · babybarista · Comments Closed
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Weekend Video: 1980s sport: Seb Coe v Steve Ovett

September 8, 2012 · babybarista · Comments Closed
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Book Recommendation: Hostile Witness by Rebecca Forster

When sixteen-year-old Hannah Sheraton is arrested for the murder of her stepgrandfather, the chief justice of the California Supreme court, her distraught mother turns to her old college roommate, Josie Baylor-Bates, for help. Josie, once a hot-shot criminal defense attorney, left the fast track behind for a small practice in Hermosa Beach, California. But Hannah Sheraton intrigues her and, when the girl is charged as an adult, Josie cannot turn her back. But the deeper she digs the more Josie realizes that politics, the law and family relationships create a combustible and dangerous situation. When the horrible truth is uncovered it can save Hannah Sheraton or destroy them both.

“This story was inspired by a case my husband handled. As a superior court judge he had to sentence a minor to life in prison. It made me wonder how I felt about minors arrested for violent crimes. Are they most vulnerable among us – capable or horrible violence, perceived as adults and yet emotionally still children?” Rebecca Forster (rebeccaforster.com)

“An enthralling read, with colorful, well-developed characters and the unique atmosphere of the California beach communities.” Nancy Taylor Rosenberg

“Blending complex psychological character portraits with spot-on accurage courtroom drmaa, Forster’s riveting legal thriller keeps the plot twists coming until the last, satisfying page.” – Alafair Burke

Available From Amazon

September 5, 2012 · babybarista · Comments Closed
Posted in: books