Archive for the ‘England and Wales’ Category

McAlpine v. Bercow and a New Era of ‘Twitter Chill’

May 24, 2013

The decision of Mr Justice Tugendhat in McAlpine v Bercow [2013] EWHC 1342 (QB) (24 May 2013) ["McAlpine"]  is a stern admonition to Twitter users about the perils of practising comedy without a license.

Seriously, in my view, the UK court’s  judgment will have a chilling effect on free speech on Twitter and will likely devolve into an era of social media self-censorship for Twitter users, particularly in the UK. A form of libel chill, or, perhaps “Twitter Chill”.

It also highlights the legal chasm that exists between the American and UK judicial approaches to balancing freedom of expression and protecting reputation. The decision also raises the spectre of a “popularity metric” to determine whether the alleged maker or republisher of the defamatory tweet has gazillions of followers or is just some shlub with 4 followers, three of which are porn bots. (more…)

Lord McAlpine and Twitter Libel: Does failing to sue when a libel is first published raise a defence of waiver, estoppel or acquiescence?

November 20, 2012

The recent media scandal involving British peer, Lord McAlpine (pictured above) who threatened to sue the BBC, ITV and thousands of Twitter users over false accusations of pedophilia is discussed over at Inforrm’s Blog: (more…)

Free Legal Advice on Twitter?: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

September 26, 2012

In his post over at Legal Cheek, “Twitter Set To Drive ‘Free-Of-Charge Ferrari Through The Horse And Cart World Of Law’, i@n davison (trendily pronounced iatn”) forecasts a “Twitter legal advice experiment taking place today could prove a turning point for the way legal services are delivered”. Davison writes, (more…)

Enforcing UK Judgments in Ontario

July 12, 2012

 The Convention between Canada and the United Kingdom For The Reciprocal Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters, 1984, [the "Convention"] [1] [2]   applies to judgments rendered by the Federal Court of Canada and all reciprocating common law provinces and territories. In Ontario, the Convention is called the Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments (U.K.) Act, RSO 1990, c R.6 ["REJUKA"] which is the only bi-lateral enforcement convention to which Ontario is a party. REJUKA does not apply to the following types of orders or judgments:

(a) orders for the periodic payment of maintenance;

(b) the recovery of taxes, duties or charges of a like nature or the recovery of a fine or penalty;

(c) judgments given on appeal from decisions of tribunals other than courts;

(d) judgments which determine

(i) the status or legal capacity of natural persons;

(ii) custody or guardianship of infants;

(iii) matrimonial matters;

(iv) succession to or the administration of the estates of deceased persons;

(v) bankruptcy, insolvency or the winding up of companies or other legal persons;

(vi) the management of the affairs of a person not capable of managing his own affairs.

REJUKA provides for a “simple and rapid” procedure for registration of the UK judgment, without having to commence a civil action on the original debt. Article IV sets out the various grounds for refusal or setting aside registration of the UK judgment. Article V deals with establishing jurisdiction of the UK court in granting the original UK judgment.

The relative ease of enforcing UK judgments under REJUKA is highlighted in the Court of Appeal for Ontario decision in Tarlo Lyons v. Gauthier, 2012 ONCA 39 (CanLII) (S.C.C. application for leave to appeal denied, (34723) , July 12, 2012). The appeal panel’s brief endorsement reads: (more…)

Asleep At The Switch: Avoiding A Negligent Referral Claim

September 21, 2011

New York: E. T. Paull Music Co., 1897.

Mandatory professional indemnity insurance & a mandatory insurer: A global perspective“, an article by Jennifer Ip (LAWPRO unit director and counsel (Litigation)) and Nora Rock, (LAWPRO corporate/policy writer), in the current issue of LAWPRO Magazine, is required reading for Canadian international law practitioners. The authors provide a comprehensive review of the recent malpractice crisis in the UK and a summary of professional errors & omissions insurance coverage in various jurisdictions.

The LAWPRO magazine also includes a Table summarizing Professional Indemnity Insurance Requirements Around The World. [available here (pdf)]

While many common-law jurisdictions (e.g. United Kingdom, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore) and most continental European civil law jurisdictions have mandatory professional indemnity insurance coverage requirements, some do not.

The most glaring exception is the United States:

Oregon is currently the only state that requires lawyers to carry liability insurance.

Oregon lawyers must purchase their primary insurance through the Oregon bar’s Professional Liability Fund.19 In an article for Law Practice TODAY, the newsletter of the Law Practice Management section of the American Bar Association, law practice management expert, Ed Poll praised the Oregon program for its affordable premiums and universal coverage, noting that the premiums paid by Oregon lawyers “are much less than the nationwide average [voluntary] payment for malpractice insurance,” and that universal coverage in Oregon means that “[t]he playing field between large and small firms is at least manageable. And the public is truly protected.”20 Jeff Crawford of the Oregon bar’s Professional Liability Fund confirmed that the base premium for the current insurance year is $3,500 (for coverage of $300,000 per claim and $300,000 in the aggregate, plus a defence costs allowance of $50,000), a premium amount that, he notes, “if you consider inflation, has remained quite stable over the past several years.”

The upshot is that a “Google search” of a foreign lawyer’s website, law blog or asking for a “Twitter recommendation” is simply not good enough and the shortest path to a “negligent referral” claim. Due diligence requires that you not only evaluate the foreign lawyer’s credentials diligently (including local bar association status, disciplinary records, etc.),  you must also request confirmation from the foreign lawyer whether he or she carries voluntary E&O insurance with sufficient minimum limits.

Forewarned is forearmed.


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