jgmnnruq

MoJ delays implementation of new accident claims processing regime

By on September 30, 2020

first_imgThe Ministry of Justice has conceded defeat over its timetable for introducing a new claims process for road traffic cases, as the Gazette predicted last week (see [2009] Gazette, 23 April, 3). A letter sent to stakeholders this week says it now hopes to have the rules approved in December – five months later than planned – with implementation in April 2010 rather than October this year. The inability of claimant and defendant groups to agree the details of the process – even before getting on to the level of fee-earner, amount of time and fee to undertake each stage – has forced the MoJ to call in the Civil Justice Council to mediate. The decision to delay came on the first day set aside for the mediation. Confusion also remains over the impact on the talks of Lord Justice Jackson’s review of costs. If they are linked, then April will also not be feasible as the judge will not issue his final report until Christmas. Association of Personal Injury Lawyers chief executive Denise Kitchener said: ‘We are pleased the MoJ has recognised that more time is needed. For some time we have had concerns about how implementation of IT and other system changes, as well as training staff and all that involves, could realistically be completed by October.’ She reiterated the association’s call for independent research and a pilot of the process. Anthony Hughes, president of the Forum of Insurance Lawyers, described the delay as ‘disappointing’. One way to make progress would be to agree the overall level of fees first and then work backwards, Hughes said.last_img read more

Continue Reading

qcvnremu

Listen and learn

By on

first_img Stephen Taylor, Senior associate, BanksideLaw, London SE1 I enjoyed reading Gordon Turner’s reflections on his experience of acting as a juror (see [2010] Gazette, 27 May, 10). It is good advice to instruct solicitors to act less like lawyers, given the impact that the profession’s rights and obligations seem to have on its practitioners’ attitudes and mannerisms. However, I think that part of Mr Turner’s sense of enlightenment at having undertaken the task of deciding a fellow citizen’s fate may also be due to the fact that acting in the capacity of a juror is almost like harking back to the days when a litigator was a trainee solicitor. My memory of that time is highlighted by the many opportunities I had to sit and observe not only the proceedings, but also my mentors, opponents and the judiciary, with little or none of the pressure associated with presenting the case. The wealth of knowledge that is acquired through that experience is something that lawyers involved in the preparation of cases have little or no time to engage in. Perhaps, part of the mantra, ‘try to be a little less like lawyers’, includes taking the time to observe and learn. last_img read more

Continue Reading

kvvfwvhc

Lenders must not take control of the conveyancing market

By on

first_img James Naish , of Naish Estate Agents & Solicitors in York, is a qualified chartered surveyor and solicitor Panel reshuffles present a real threat to small conveyancing firms. We might consider the longer-term implications by reviewing what has happened in residential surveying. If I need a mortgage to buy a house, I must have the house valued by my lender’s panel surveyor. If I want it surveyed, I am free to instruct any surveyor, but that surveyor cannot provide the lender’s mortgage valuation and so I would have to pay two sets of fees. It is therefore cheaper for me to upgrade my mortgage valuation to a homebuyer’s report or survey through my lender. Their panel surveyor will carry out a single inspection. I am effectively forced by the lender to use their panel surveyor. The upshot is that local independent surveyors tend not to undertake enough work for clients who need a mortgage to buy a house. The volume of work available to these independent surveyors is therefore minimal and there are very few of them. Do clients benefit? No. They lose the freedom to appoint a local surveyor and usually end up paying more to the lender. Moreover, their valuation/survey will probably be carried out by a surveyor based miles away. Do panel surveyors benefit? The shareholder owners might, but individual surveyors often work for large companies only. Even those that share profit are not so well off because they receive only a portion of what clients pay to the mortgage company. This leaves us with the lenders. They do benefit, by receiving an arrangement fee for every instruction that they insist is arranged though them. They channel all residential work through a limited number of huge panel surveying companies or associations, thereby controlling pricing and arrangement fees. They do not care about service quality, because their interests are secured against people’s houses or by the surveyors’ indemnity insurance. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors regrettably allowed estate agency to escape its regulatory clutches, and lenders have forced all valuation and survey work towards big panel associations. So ambitious and entrepreneurial surveyors choose not to go into residential. Bright young trainee surveyors are either not interested or struggle to get the necessary training. And all for what? Because nobody took on the lenders when they had the chance. In a few years time, there will not be many residential surveyors left. It’s a time bomb made by the lenders which might just blow up in their faces. They need qualified chartered surveyors and always will. Both the government and Law Society must act. If they do not, in 10 years or earlier, borrowers will be forced to arrange their legal work through the lenders, who will pocket a nice arrangement fee each time. The legal work will be carried out by unqualified case handlers for ever smaller fees, under the supervision of ever fewer experienced solicitors who can actually certify title, from a factory office building in a city miles from the properties they deal with. There might be fewer fraud claims, but there will be far more negligence claims. The interests of solicitors, their clients and, in the long term, the lenders, will not be better served. The insurers also have a vested interest here. Moreover, given the huge combined market share of the Santander and Lloyds groups, are they not exploiting their position as market leaders? Good, smaller conveyancing practices on the high street will be put out of business or forced to close, followed in years to come by larger high street firms. New practices will not be able to get going if they are only given 12 months to prove they can put ‘significant business’ through the lenders in question. The cost to firms and their partners who rely on conveyancing and who have been removed from the panels is not just closure of their practices. Indemnity insurance rules require six years’ runoff cover. The lenders are moving towards control of the conveyancing market, just as they control the survey and valuation market. Neither is satisfactory to the public, solicitors, insurers or, ultimately, lenders.last_img read more

Continue Reading

pyfkzesm

Cuts cost money

By on

first_imgMany of the Law Society’s suggestions would not achieve savings, but create further cost, something we all need to avoid. The suggestion that prosecutors should meet the cost of acquittals, instead of central funds, simply passes cost from one area of public expenditure to another – effectively robbing Peter to pay Paul. Furthermore, there is no evidence that the Crown Prosecution Service is inefficient in bringing cases. In fact, the latest data shows that crown court convictions are now at 81% and magistrates’ court convictions at 86.8%. The real issue is why so many defendants who eventually plead guilty do not admit their guilt earlier in proceedings. There is good evidence to show that associate prosecutors are effective and efficient prosecutors in magistrates’ courts. It is notable that one of our associate prosecutors successfully prosecuted a well-known musician who was being defended by a silk. The Law Society is also wrong in suggesting that greater use of wasted costs will produce savings. It will simply create more satellite litigation between publicly funded parties, increasing costs overall. Peter Lewis, Chief executive, Crown Prosecution Servicelast_img read more

Continue Reading

xbdspkkt

Patent

By on

first_img Re patent application in the name of Protecting Kids The World Over (PKTWO) Ltd: Chancery Division, Patents Court (Mr Justice Floyd): 26 October 2011 Keith Beresford of Beresford & Co for the applicant; Charlotte May (instructed by the Treasury solicitor) for the comptroller. Application – Refusalcenter_img The applicant company made UK Patent Application No. GB 0723964.3 in the name of ‘PROTECTING KIDS THE WORLD OVER (PKTWO) LTD’, which related to a system for monitoring the content of electronic communications to ensure that users, namely children, were not exposed to inappropriate content or language. As claimed in claim 33, the invention comprised a data communications analysis engine which sampled, or in jargon ‘packet sniffs’, data packets from a communications channel for further analysis of their content. The data packets were then monitored using a sequence of ‘hash tables’ which assigned a score to the data packet depending on the expressions found in the data packets. An aggregate alert level was assigned to the packet. The aggregate alert level was passed to a security warning algorithm which generated an alert notification to users. There was then a ‘request and response engine’ for sending a notification to an administrator/user such as a parent and for receiving a response from the administrator/user comprising one of several actions to be taken by the computer. The actions to be taken by the computer included one of: (a) alerting a user, (b) terminating the electronic communication on the channel; or (c) shutting down the equipment. What was envisaged was that the computer would send the alert notification, in effect an alarm, to a parent by email or SMS message. The parent would be able to send a remote response command of one of the specified types and the computer would respond accordingly. The applicant claimed that claim 33 was both novel and inventive, and that the process which carried out the monitoring of the electronic communication did so more rapidly and reliably than the prior article. The hearing officer, acting for the defendant Comptroller General of Patents (the comptroller), rejected the claimant’s patent application. He took the view that claim 20 (on which claim 33 was dependent), lay wholly within the excluded fields as set out in article 52 of the European Patent Convention, relying on the computer program and mental act exclusions set out therein. With respect to claim 33, he decided that it was also excluded from patentability because it related to a computer program and to a method of performing a mental act. The applicant appealed. Prior to the hearing of the appeal, the comptroller informed the applicant that he no longer relied on the mental act exclusion. However, the applicant asked that the appeal be allowed with claim 33 as it stood. In the alternative, it asked that claim 33 be allowed but with an amendment that the request and response engine be operable to shut down the user equipment if no response was received within a predetermined time. Other amendments were put forward to earlier claims, namely claims 1, 5 and 20. Each of those claims was proposed to be limited by a further feature ‘means for automatically transmitting to a remote terminal, via a telecommunications network, an alert message in response to said aggregate alert levels reaching or exceeding a threshold’. The applicant contended that claim 33 was novel and inventive: the process which carried out the monitoring of the electronic communication did so more rapidly and reliably than the prior article. In a letter dated 14 May 2010, the examiner had reported that he was persuaded that the claims were novel and inventive over the cited prior article. He further accepted that the hash table approach might produce a reduction in analysis time, whilst not accepting that the approach meant that the computer functioned better generally. Although the comptroller was not bound by those observations, they demonstrated that the applicant had a serious case that the contribution of the claim resulted in a more rapid and reliable processing of the expressions. If the processing of the expressions was more rapid and reliable, then the relevant alarm notifications were sent out more rapidly and more reliably as well. The applicant argued that by analysing the contributions of claims 20 and 33 in two separate parts, the hearing officer had lost sight of the contribution of claim 33 as a whole. The appeal would be allowed. It was settled law that in considering whether the exclusions from patentability had been engaged, the court had to: (1) properly construe the claim; (2) identify the actual contribution; (3) ask whether it fell solely within the excluded subject matter; and (4) check whether the actual or alleged contribution was actually technical in nature. Although it was impossible to define the meaning of ‘technical’ in that context, it was well established that there were a number of signposts set out in established authority as to what amounted to a relevant technical effect, namely: (i) whether the claimed technical effect had a technical effect on a process which was carried on outside the computer; (ii) whether the claimed technical effect operated at the level of the architecture of the computer; namely whether the effect was produced irrespective of the data being processed or the applications being run; (iii) whether the claimed technical effect resulted in the computer being made to operate in a new way; (iv) whether there was an increase in the speed or reliability of the computer; and (v) whether the perceived problem was overcome by the claimed invention as opposed to merely being circumvented. An invention which had none of the aforementioned signposts was unlikely to involve a relevant technical effect. When assessing whether the inventor’s contribution was technical, it was well established that it was helpful to have regard to what task it was that the program (or the programmed computer) performed. It was accepted that there was no formulated test for what did and did not amount to a technical contribution in the field. Each case had to be decided by reference to its own particular facts and features, bearing in mind the guidance given in the relevant authorities (see [10], [12], [13]-[15] of the judgment). In the instant case, the contribution made by claim 33 included, in addition to the features identified by the hearing officer, the generation of a more rapid and reliable alarm notification. Viewed in that way, although, at a high level of generality, alarm notifications had not been novel, the particular alarm notification described in the specification and claimed in claim 33 had not been known and formed part of the contribution to human knowledge made by the application. Given the different view taken of the contribution made by claim 33, it was necessary to re-assess whether that contribution resided wholly in excluded matter. What was at play in the instant case was namely an alarm alerting the user, at a remote terminal such as a mobile device, to the fact that inappropriate content was being processed within the computer. The effect there, viewed as a whole, was an improved monitoring of the content of electronic communications. The monitoring was said to be technically superior to that produced by the prior article. That seemed to have the necessary characteristics of a technical contribution outside the computer itself. Accordingly, the contribution of claim 33 did not reside wholly within the computer program as such exclusion. Such a conclusion was in accordance with the signposts set out in established authority. In particular, the invention solved a technical problem lying outside the computer, namely how to improve on the inappropriate communication alarm generation provided by the prior article (see [31]-[33]-[35] of the judgment). Claims 1, 5 and 20 would have to be amended as proposed, and the matter would be remitted to the UK Intellectual Property Office as there were outstanding objections in relation to added matter (see [36] of the judgment). Aerotel Ltd v Telco Holdings Ltd; Re Macrossan’s Application [2006] All ER (D) 346 (Oct) applied; AT & T Knowledge Ventures, Re; Re CVON Innovations Ltd [2009] All ER (D) 27 (Mar) applied; Patent application in the name of Halliburton Energy Services Inc, Re [2011] All ER (D) 78 (Oct) applied; Symbian Ltd v Comptroller General of Patents [2008] All ER (D) 75 (Oct) considered; Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc v Virgin Media Ltd [2009] All ER (D) 67 (Dec) considered.last_img read more

Continue Reading

vtnbwznl

Reveal all before you decide

By on September 29, 2020

first_imgStay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Subscribe now for unlimited accesslast_img read more

Continue Reading

jgmnnruq

Can you help stop CSCS fraud?

By on

first_imgTo continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Subscribe now for unlimited access Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletterslast_img read more

Continue Reading

nkkdghkm

Peter the portly puss

By on

first_imgTo continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Subscribe now for unlimited access Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletterslast_img read more

Continue Reading

ujwpplxd

Fall-out shelter

By on

first_imgStay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Subscribe now for unlimited access To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our communitylast_img read more

Continue Reading

vozlqydz

Leave law to the lawyers …

By on

first_imgTo continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Subscribe now for unlimited access Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our communitylast_img read more

Continue Reading