Separated from parliament, will the Supreme Court become too powerful?

first_imgCreating the Supreme Court ‘as a result of what appears to have been a last-minute decision over a glass of whisky’ seems to verge on the frivolous, Lord Neuberger tells me. ‘You muck around with a constitution like the British Constitution at your peril, because you do not know what the consequences of any change will be.’ The law lord, who will be taking over as master of the rolls next month instead of joining the new Supreme Court, believes that taking Britain’s final court of appeal out of parliament should have been considered as part of a much wider review. ‘The law of unintended consequences is one of the most reliable pieces of law on the non-existent statute book,’ he adds. But Lord Turnbull, who was cabinet secretary in 2003 when Tony Blair unexpectedly announced several wide-ranging constitutional reforms, insists that they were not ‘thought up on the back of a fag packet’. Even so, he admits that the Supreme Court may be more assertive and difficult for a future government than the current law lords – a trend that can be seen already. Turnbull’s view is endorsed by Lord Falconer, who was appointed lord chancellor to see the reforms through. ‘I believe the effect of there being a Supreme Court will be to strengthen the judiciary in this country,’ he says. Falconer thinks the new court will be bolder, both in vindicating individual freedoms and being willing to take on the executive. The former minister frankly admits that this will lead to problems for future governments. All three peers were speaking to me for a Radio 4 documentary on the creation of the Supreme Court. The programme, Top Dogs: Britain’s Supreme Court, to be broadcast next week, reveals widely differing views on the court’s likely effect. Lord Bingham, the former senior law lord and a strong supporter of the Supreme Court, thinks it unlikely that the law lords will behave any differently now that they are no longer in parliament. ‘There is no question whatever of the Justices of the Supreme Court having a rush of blood to the head and saying: “Now we’re free of the constraints of being part of the House of Lords, we can throw our weight around and assert ourselves.”’ Bingham’s view is endorsed by the only woman in the new court. ‘I doubt very much whether it will change the way in which we do our work,’ says Lady Hale. ‘Our jurisdiction will be the same, our powers will be the same, we won’t get any greater or grander powers simply by becoming the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.’ But Lord Collins, the only member of the court to have practised as a solicitor, is less sure. He believes it will evolve gradually into a different type of body – ‘perhaps not as pivotal as the US Supreme Court, but certainly playing a much more central role in the legal system and approaching the American idea of a government of laws and not of men’. Why should this be? Collins points to the anomalous position of the law lords – peers interpreting legislation that other peers have approved. ‘Once these anomalies are removed, it may be that the court will feel freer to have a more activist role,’ he says.Lord Phillips, who becomes president of the court next month, takes a more cautious approach. On the face of it, he says, the change is one of form rather than substance. The furthest that Phillips will go is to say the move ‘could well prove to be a catalyst for gradual change’. As an example, he says the new court may experiment with majority judgments, something that parliamentary procedure did not permit. But his deputy believes that having their own building – on the other side of Parliament Square – may not be in the judges’ interests. The law lords used to meet all sorts of people when they walked round the Palace of Westminster, Lord Hope explains. ‘I can’t say our conversation [was] particularly deep, but at least it keeps you in touch with humanity.’ Their rooms in the House of Lords were crammed into a single narrow corridor ‘where interaction is very easy and relationships are extremely good’. In the Supreme Court, the judges will be dispersed around four corners on two floors, ‘so that you have to make an effort actually to go and see somebody’. Will geography affect the way the court works? Hope says the answer to that is ‘completely unknown’. And that, of course, is Neuberger’s point. ‘The fact that one might not have designed the system if one was starting from scratch is, to my mind, no argument for saying that, therefore, the system should be changed,’ he explains. Neuberger fears that the Supreme Court, separated from parliament, ‘could start to become more powerful, to try to assert itself in a way that is… foreign to the British system and would lead to a real risk of confrontation between the judiciary and the legislature, and, indeed, between the judiciary and the executive.’ In his view, there is a real risk of judges arrogating to themselves greater power than they have at the moment. ‘Democratic accountability is fundamental. And while it’s right and proper that judges have independent power and provide a very important balance to the elected legislature and the non-elected executive, it’s dangerous if they get too much power.’ Don’t say you weren’t warned. Top Dogs: Britain’s Supreme Court will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday 8 September at 8pm and repeated the following Sunday.last_img read more

Law Society Council considers ‘useful’ Hunt review

first_imgLaw Society president Robert Heslett last week praised Lord Hunt’s ‘very useful’ review of legal services regulation, welcoming the Tory peer’s core proposal for self-governance for firms that meet robust levels of internal compliance. Heslett was speaking after the Law Society council met in private session to consider Hunt’s Chancery Lane-commissioned report for the first time. The president said Hunt’s ­proposed system of authorised internal regulation (AIR) – one of 88 recommendations – was ‘well-received’, adding: ‘That is the genius of the Hunt report; the suggestion of a way forward that could apply to the whole profession.’ This was the regime recommended in the subsidiary report conducted by former senior civil servant Nick Smedley into the regulation of big corporate practices. Hunt anticipated that the big corporate firms would be in the ‘first wave’ of AIR. ‘Hopefully all firms will aspire to the system that the SRA adopts,’ stressed Heslett, ‘but it is for the SRA to decide on that system.’ Recommendations 16 to 22 of Hunt proposed far-reaching structural changes at the Society itself. These include a new ­corporate board with its own secretariat that would bring together representatives of the profession, the SRA and independent members. This board would ‘have oversight of the efficient running of each constituent part of the Law Society’ – accountable to council in respect of the Society’s role as the professional body for solicitors; and accountable to ministers and parliament for the society’s activities as a front-line regulator. ‘It’s an interesting idea, building on previous ideas in a similar vein, and further consideration will be given to it,’ commented Heslett. ‘But in terms of the present structure, the Law Society and SRA have just put in place new arrangements [in respect of] shared services and we want to see how they work before we become introspective. Our ­priority is to deal with the substance of regulation, which is what the overall thrust of the Hunt report is all about.’ Heslett stressed that Hunt also needs to be considered in the context of the development of principles-based regulation and the difficult task of developing a licensing system and regulations for alternative business structures, due in 2011. ‘That’s a tremendous amount of work to get through for the SRA, requiring considerable effort on its part,’ he observed. Commenting on Hunt’s recommendation that solicitors should take their own equivalent of the Hippocratic oath, Heslett pointed out that the swearing of such an oath is not a requirement to become a doctor, as many believe. Heslett said it is his intention to keep Hunt on the agenda of future council meetings.last_img read more

Small firms will be ‘resilient’ in the face of ABSs

first_imgSmall law firms are likely to be ‘resilient’ to the impact of alternative business structures, research has suggested. A report by consultants Oxera, commissioned by the Law Society, also concluded that ABSs are unlikely to be detrimental to geographic access to justice for consumers. The research found that existing ‘commodity’ legal providers, such as bulk conveyancing firms, could find it ‘hard to compete’ with an ABS firm that is built on a trusted brand. It said that many such firms may opt to merge with a branded provider seeking to enter the market. However, the report noted that many small firms had already withstood competition from large centralised firms. It said that while a shift away from ‘small-provider, face-to-face advice’ was expected, solicitors interviewed for the report had suggested that small firms would be able to differentiate themselves by finding a specialised area of the market that is not suitable for high-volume, remote access legal advice. Some interviewees believed that, in order to remain viable, small firms may need to specialise in clients who value face-to-face contact, such as the elderly, disabled or high-net-worth individuals, or areas of the law that involve more bespoke advice, such as child custody or divorce. While solicitors generally considered that ABSs would exclude small firms from the market, the report noted that none of those interviewed thought their own firm would be pushed out. This was either because of their focus on certain customer segments such as elderly clients, or a belief that the firm’s strong local branding would ‘insulate them from larger firms offering a more remote service’. The report found there was a strong density of law firm offices across the country compared with other services such as bank and post office branches, pharmacies and GP surgeries. It said that a ‘moderate reduction’ in the number of law firms would not have ‘a large adverse effect on geographic access to justice’, although the impact might be more significant in particular areas of advice or in rural locations. The report said that customer welfare overall was expected to be higher as a result of ABSs. Oxera’s report was based on analysis of existing data and interviews it conducted with 15 businesses, including high street and legal factory firms, and three potential new entrants to the legal services market. Law Society chief executive Desmond Hudson said the report made a ‘useful contribution’ to understanding the impact of ABSs. But he stressed that, while some ABS firms may enhance access to justice overall, it will be important to tease out the circumstances in which granting an ABS licence may have an adverse effect, and ensure that regulators put in place necessary safeguards. He added: ‘It would be massively imprudent for any regulator to leave the concept of access to justice to the vagaries of a market experiment.’last_img read more

What litigators need to know about the forensic investigation process

first_img First steps This is an edited version of an article that first appeared in the July issue of Solutions, the magazine of the Law Society’s Civil Justice Section. For more information on the Section and how to join, visit or call 020 7320 5873. Set out strategy. Bring in forensic computer specialists early on to collect as much information as possible in an evidentially clean way, so you get a picture of what is involved. Make sure evidence is then locked down. Once core facts are in, you may need a forensic accountant to ‘number crunch’. Decide on a fundamental reporting line and keep the number of people central to it as small as possible. Burden of choiceCharles Holloway, a former Eversheds litigation partner and now managing director of litigation support consultancy Millnet, believes lawyers need to have a list of well-researched providers in their armoury early on. ‘If a client calls with a problem, you don’t have time to check references,’ he says. Critical issues in choosing a provider, says Mirchandani, are ‘confidentiality and evidentially clean data’. He cautions: ‘People who don’t meet those standards generally don’t survive. Quite often, the company’s own security requirements are greater than the clients’. Reputation in the market counts for a lot.’ Mike Taylor, a non-practising barrister, says that it can be hard for litigators to keep on top of a market of 50 to 60 forensic investigators and e-disclosure providers, and to be ‘agile’ enough to swap between them to get the best value for their clients. This led to his decision, in 2006, to leave Kroll and set up i-Lit, a legal IT consultancy. ‘I spotted an opportunity in the market to become, effectively, a gun for hire for mid-tier law firms who don’t have an in-house litigation support function,’ he says. ‘This means I am an occasional cost that can be passed on to the client, rather than a continuing office cost. ‘I go in at an early stage and advise on the forensic preservation of data before taking a fully scoped project to the market. I go to multiple providers, from the big to the small, with the same spec.’ He says he can add value to his law firm clients because he can ‘understand the different assumptions that are built into the costings’. He adds: ‘I can also help with communication between the lawyers and the technical experts – otherwise, the lawyers can end up believing that the providers are trying to skin their clients by doing extra work, while the techies can feel misunderstood and undervalued.’ Keith Oliver, head of commercial litigation and civil fraud at Peters & Peters, highlights the key steps you should take if a client rings and says ‘we have a problem’. The bottom lineAlongside reputation, cost is inevitably going to be critical – and it can be eye-wateringly large. The bitterly fought dispute between Digicel and Cable & Wireless involved a massive forensic and disclosure exercise, which could leave losing side Digicel facing costs of £15m. David Stern, head of the six-strong forensic accounting team at professional services firm Vantis, says Vantis is called in during complex business disputes, with the work ranging from international arbitrations to commercial court cases, to some professional negligence work. ‘Litigation is so expensive,’ he says. ‘Only deep-pocket corporates or high-net-worth individuals can afford to litigate. For an accountant to be involved, there needs to be at least seven figures involved in the dispute.’ For Oliver, one of the greatest challenges as a lawyer is to manage client expectations: ‘If you are the victim of fraud, it is bad enough that money has been stolen from you. Having to invest substantial legal costs in pursuing it hurts. You have to warn clients that the investigation costs will be substantial, but you have to control the costs and make sure it isn’t an open cheque book, as nothing serves to undermine a relationship more quickly.’ Holloway says it is important to assess whether you actually need a full-scale forensic collection, where a specialist collects the data in a forensically independent way, to ensure the chain of evidence is preserved and the computers are not manipulated. He cautions that such an investigation is ‘hugely expensive’, and says that he will often ‘advise clients that they may just need to collect an image of a hard drive, as the parties involved accept they have the documents and it doesn’t require the forensic element’. He warns: ‘A lawyer came to us recently saying, “help, we have spent our client’s budget for the whole e-disclosure process on the forensic collection. We now have a vast amount of data which isn’t in a searchable form”. I cringed, because it could have been done for a fraction of the cost, and been searchable.’ Mirchandani agrees: ‘You have to adopt a staged approach – work out how much material you think there is, based on discussions with the client, then assess the best way of collecting it. If you don’t have doubts about your staff, then collect it internally. That is a legitimate approach, it seems to me, as the cost could otherwise exceed the value of the case. ‘However, if you have a fraud, and are concerned about the staff who would collect data, you would probably want the comfort of having a forensically clean collection done.’ What is also important, Mirchandani says, is keeping abreast of developments in the market: ‘Some of the smaller players may develop a novel piece of software which you need to know about.’ Palmer Legal Technologies, for instance, has developed a tool to extract data from backup tapes, while Stroz Friedberg is trialling a psycholinguistic tool in the US called WarmTouch, which can pick up emotional content from emails. Stroz Friedberg has also developed the ‘privilege filter’, a tool which analyses text looking for privileged documents. Berman, a former US prosecutor specialising in computer crime, explains: ‘It doesn’t just look for the word “privilege” but for phrases such as “my lawyer advised me”, to flag up documents which haven’t been marked as client/lawyer privilege.’ Ensuring the instructions for, and the product of, forensic investigations are protected by legal privilege is vital, says Oliver: ‘Payment responsibility can still be with the client, but the instruction needs to come from external lawyers.’ Mirchandani agrees: ‘If there is the possibility of litigation, you would want the collection exercise protected by privilege. If a company simply instructed a forensic practice to collect the data, it wouldn’t be covered. If litigation isn’t reasonably contemplated, the collection must be done for the purpose of legal advice and assistance, and kept within the team truly advising the client.’ While computer wizardry may prove highly revealing, the way cases are handled often still comes down to human nature. As Berman says: ‘People react differently when they have been wronged. Some take the view they want to sue and crush those involved like bugs, others want to hate them quietly. We can assist in getting them to either place.’ Grania Langdon-Down is a freelance journalistcenter_img Set up an encrypted offsite email system, if required, to keep information confidential and privileged. If you need to apply for interlocutory or freezing orders, you will have to make full and frank disclosure, so gather information very carefully, because you will have to reveal to the court what you have found. Consider ‘immunising’ employees to get them to cooperate; be aware of employment law consequences when interviewing staff, particularly those ‘in the frame’. In today’s electronic world, where filing cabinets of information can be copied onto a device small enough to swallow, litigators are increasingly turning to forensic investigators to help identify the data that could make or break their case. This is creating a growing industry, from specialist teams within the big four accountancy giants, to individual consultants. But with so much at stake, how can litigators choose which company to instruct? David Greene, president of the London Solicitors Litigation Association and head of litigation at London firm Edwin Coe, says: ‘We are following the US’s lead in bringing in forensic computer and accounting specialists at a much earlier stage, because of pre-action requirements to set out damages. ‘However, while we are litigators, we are also problem-solvers and, as part of that role, we will pull in forensics where a company is worried that they may have breached restrictions on anti-competitive practice. We need them to find out the extent of the problem as quickly as possible, so if the company has to go to the regulators, it gets in first. If the raid is already happening and the regulator’s investigators are crawling all over the company, you need your lawyers to sort out your position, and forensics to find out the truth.’ And the results can be ‘spectacular’, says Keith Oliver, senior partner and head of commercial litigation and civil fraud at London firm Peters & Peters. ‘I am involved in ongoing cases where investigations of former employees have started with a line-by-line review of material retained on hard drives, some of which has been deleted. This is why forensics is so important – you can show, by reference to extraneous events, the dates on which particular key documents were deleted, which is incredibly important evidentially in proving a fraud, or in civil recovery steps.’ International computer forensic consultancy Stroz Friedberg specialises in establishing what happened when on a computer, and in collecting data for e-disclosure. As Seth Berman, managing director of the London office, explains: ‘It is the difference between looking through the filing cabinet, and fingerprinting the outside to see who went in it.’ Stroz has 12 computer experts based in London. ‘It can mean sneaking in late at night to make a copy of a computer without the person who uses it having any idea it has happened,’ he says. ‘There are lots of legal issues involved but, in certain circumstances, it is permissible to make a copy of someone’s computer over the network, and watch what they are doing as they are doing it. ‘If a case gets to trial, we are regularly called as witnesses of fact to show that a particular document was found on someone’s computer, or as expert witnesses to demonstrate, for example, how a document has been altered or a computer hacked into.’ In one investigation, the target was a computer expert. ‘He was erasing material as the warrant was knocking on the door,’ Berman says. ‘It is difficult to delete things without leaving a trace, but he had managed to erase key documents. However, he forgot the backup tapes from the day before, so it was one of those great moments in a lawsuit where you find both evidence of bad faith and the actual documents.’ When global risk consultancy Kroll was called in by the board overseeing the liquidation of Icelandic bank Glitnir to carry out a forensic investigation, it stationed a team in Reykjavik for 12 months. The result is a $2bn US lawsuit that accuses one of the main figures behind Iceland’s banking boom and bust of a ‘sweeping conspiracy’ which contributed to the bank’s collapse. The individual has denied the allegations and is contesting the case. Establish a core team, with general counsel and director carrying authority of the board. Information must only be disseminated on a need-to-know basis, as individuals involved could be in senior posts. The playersThe big four accountancy firms increasingly provide an ‘end-to-end’ service, from the forensic collection of data to hosting e-disclosure platforms for lawyers to review material pre-trial. Neil Mirchandani, a partner in the securities, investment banking and funds litigation group at City firm Hogan Lovells, notes that the quartet ‘are investing heavily in the forensic data collection side, hiring in computer expertise, as they see this as a growth area’. Deloitte, for instance, has a 37-strong analytic and forensic technology team. Phillip Sealey, who left the Serious Fraud Office 12 years ago to set up the team, says: ‘We cover the whole life of information, from pre-raid advice on what clients should be aware of should something happen, to collecting data when something has happened, to working with the clients to look at it and present it at court. We have ambitious plans to grow over the next three to five years, with a permanent recruitment drive and investment in new technologies.’ Mirchandani says there are also some high-quality teams among the top dozen or so practices in the next tier: ‘They are also less subject to conflict issues. PricewaterhouseCoopers, for instance, audits about 40% of the FTSE 100, and they wouldn’t investigate an audit client. ‘However, the practice you choose may be based on whether a certain individual is available. You are ultimately paying for someone who is potentially going to be giving evidence at the trial, which is why there are at least four or five practices which match the big four.’ Then there are the specialist companies such as Kroll, he continues, with capability in multiple jurisdictions: ‘There are also domestic players who you would bring in on a “horses for courses” basis, who may be as good as the bigger players and are quite often cheaper.’ For Tommy Helsby, chairman of Kroll’s Europe, Middle East and Africa region, the advantage of instructing his company is that it has more external credibility than even a very good boutique firm: ‘We will have the edge because, when a report is being presented to a third party, our name carries more weight. We will also have more experience abroad and across disciplines.’ Adrian Palmer left Kroll Ontrack, the consultancy’s technical services division, in 2006 with five colleagues to set up Palmer Legal Technologies. Palmer’s size has more than doubled, to 11 staff, in four years. On one occasion, he says, a client rang at 5am to say they had been notified that regulators were about to conduct a raid. ‘The client wanted someone there immediately to take notes on the systems they were imaging, replicate what they had done and then go through it faster than they could, so the client could hold their hands up first if need be. We have invested in more powerful conceptual searching systems than most regulators have, so we can often get to the nitty gritty before they can.’ He adds that one advantage of a small firm is ‘our conflict checks take about 30 seconds, unlike the big four’s, which may take one or two days’. Sealey admits conflict issues are a ‘bugbear for the big practices – it may be a day or two before we can even step on site’. However, he says that Deloitte brings other advantages: ‘We have master services agreements with some clients, where we have all the paperwork in place and clients can just call us in. We also have people all around Europe and can pull together a mammoth team at very short notice. We had one case coming out of the US where we went into 53 countries.’ He stresses that the firm will ‘do everything’, from ‘a project involving a single machine, to the biggest we have done, which involved 3,500 machines’.last_img read more

India will liberalise ‘in time’

first_imgThe Law Society remains optimistic that sustained trade negotiations with the Indian government will eventually open the country’s legal market to English law firms, its vice-president John Wotton said this week. Wotton’s comments came after Veerappa Moily, Indian government minister for law and justice, told the Indian parliament last week that ‘at present there is no proposal to allow foreign law firms into the country’. But Wotton said: ‘I am confident that Indian markets will open up over time as a result of trade negotiations. Law is of course part of that picture.’ Wotton visited India earlier this month alongside Law Society head of international Alison Hook, for negotiations with Indian government officials – including Moily – and Indian bar leaders. ‘On the basis of discussions we have had with Dr Moily, we are encouraged to believe that conditions will in due course be created to make entry of foreign law firms possible,’ he said. ‘We will continue to discuss with ministers, officials and bar leaders the great contribution that foreign law firms – and English law firms in particular – can make in serving the interests of business in India, and increasing the opportunities for Indian lawyers without impacting upon the work they currently undertake.’ The Law Society and a number of City law firms have been pressing the Indian government for years to allow foreign lawyers to practise in India. The Indian market appeared to be moving towards liberalisation in December 2008, when the Indian government passed a law allowing the formation of limited liability partnerships by Indian law firms, and, once regulations were passed, foreign firms. Magic circle firm Clifford Chance signed a ‘best friends’ deal with Indian magic circle firm AZB shortly afterwards; national firm Beachcroft entered into a joint venture with Indian firm Khaitan Jayakar Sud & Vohra. A number of other UK firms have alliance or ‘best friend’ offices in India. But in December 2009, the Mumbai High Court ruled in Lawyers Collective v Union of India that legal advice outside litigation practice was still covered by the ban on foreign lawyers enshrined in the 1961 Advocates Act. In July, Clifford Chance senior partner Stuart Popham visited India as chair of trade body TheCityUK. On the day the delegation arrived, Moily was reported in Indian newspaper The Financial Express as saying that there was ‘no question’ of Indian lawyers accepting competition from foreign lawyers overnight.last_img read more


first_imgDisciplinary committee – Erasure of name from registry – Panel finding appellant carrying out programme of investigation without ethics committee approval Stephen Miller QC and Andrea Lindsay-Stugo (instructed by Eastwoods Solicitors) for the appellant; Joanna Glynn QC and Christopher Mellor (instructed by Field Fisher Waterhouse) for the GMC. Walker-Smith v General Medical Council: QBD (Admin) (Mr Justice Mitting): 7 March 2012center_img At the relevant time, the appellant was a professor of paediatric gastroenterology at the Royal Free Hospital. In September 1996, an application was made to the hospital’s ethics committee for approval of a research project. The appellant was named as one of the responsible consultants together with W and M. Two working hypotheses were set out for the possible link between the measles/rubella vaccine in a previously healthy child and the subsequent development of enteritis, Cbl deficiency and disintegrative disorder. In January 1997, the appellant was notified of the approval of the project (project 172-96) subject to three conditions, including a condition that only patients enrolled after 18 December 1996 would be considered to be in the trial. Between July 1996 and February 1997, 11 children were admitted to the hospital for investigation under the appellant and his team. The case histories of those 11 children plus a 12th child were subsequently summarised in a paper published in The Lancet. At a press conference which was contravened to accompany publication of the paper, W stated that he could no longer support the giving of the MMR vaccine. The joint view of the appellant and M was that it was inappropriate to emphasise the role of the MMR vaccine in publicity about the paper and that they supported government policy concerning MMR until more firm evidence was available. However, W’s statement and subsequent publicity had an adverse effect upon the takeup of the MMR vaccine and this was of great concern to those responsible for public health. In October 2004, charges of serious professional misconduct brought by the General Medical Council (GMC) against the appellant, W and M, were referred to a fitness-to-practise panel (the panel). It was alleged, inter alia, that, in relation to the 11 children, the appellant had subjected them to a programme of investigation for research purposes without ethics committee approval, either because the investigations had been carried out before approval was given, or because the children’s condition had not met the selection criteria, or because they had been carried out in breach of the conditions of approval. Further, various investigations had been clinically inappropriate. The appellant contended that he had been conducting medical practice which did not require ethics committee approval. He contended that it was his intention which was determinative of that issue. Accordingly, an unavoidable and fundamental question which the panel had to answer was the distinction between medical practice and research, and to determine what the appellant’s intention had been. In May 2010, the panel gave a written decision concluding that the appellant and W were guilty of serious professional misconduct. It was ordered that the names of the appellant and W be erased from the register of medical practitioners. The panel concluded, inter alia, that: in respect of 10 of the 12 children, the appellant had subjected them to investigations as part of project 172-96, a research project without ethics committee approval; the investigations carried out on child 2, 1, 3, 9, 5, 12 and 8 were contrary to his representations to the ethics committee that they were clinically indicated; and in seven of the 10 cases in which it found that the appellant was at serious fault, he had subjected the children to investigations which were not clinically appropriate and were contrary to their clinical interests. Further, the panel found that the appellant had known that the reporting of a temporal link between the syndrome described and the MMR vaccination had major public health implications and would attract intense public and media interest. Consequently, as a senior author, the appellant had had a duty to ensure that the factual information in the paper and any information provided by him in response to queries was true and accurate. It found a number of failures in respect of the paper (see [156] of the judgment). The appellant appealed against the panel’s findings and the sanction. The appeal would be allowed. Both on general issues and The Lancet paper and in relation to individual children, the panel’s overall conclusion that the appellant was guilty of serious professional misconduct had been flawed, in two respects: inadequate and superficial reasoning; and, in a number of instances, a wrong conclusion. The panel had had to decide what the appellant thought he was doing: if he believed he was undertaking research in the guise of clinical investigation and treatment, he had deserved the finding that he had been guilty of serious professional misconduct and the sanction of erasure; if not, he did not, unless, perhaps, his actions had fallen outside the spectrum of what would have been considered reasonable medical practice by an academic clinician. Its failure to address and decide that question was an error which went to the root of its determination (see [186] of the judgment). The finding of serious professional misconduct and the sanction of erasure would be quashed (see [187] of the judgment). last_img read more

It could be you

first_imgTo continue enjoying, 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 industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters 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 community Subscribe now for unlimited accesslast_img read more

Calling all megalomaniacs

first_imgGet 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 industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters To continue enjoying, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe now for unlimited access 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

A lesson in life

first_imgSubscribe now for unlimited access 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 To continue enjoying, 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 industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAYlast_img read more

Errors of judgment

first_imgGet 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 industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters To continue enjoying, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe now for unlimited access 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