A leading divorce lawyer has taken her campaign for no-fault divorce direct to Conservative Party members.Ayesha Vardag, founder of London firm Vardags, implored delegates at the party conference to lobby their MPs and bring out a change in the law.But the scale of her task was made clear when it emerged that more than two-thirds of Conservative councillors polled by ComRes favour the status quo. A straw poll of audience members at Tuesday’s fringe event found them split down the middle.Vardag said she was motivated to launch the Campaign for Family Law Reform after seeing progress in parliament stall while clients continue to be corralled into accusations they did not want to make.‘Couples need to go through the process of stating, on the record, something critical about the other individual unless they are able to wait for two years of separation,’ she said. ‘The process of finding fault is antiquated and sets a conflictual path for the divorce from the outset. Most importantly, finding fault doesn’t help save marriages.’Richard Bacon MP, who spearheaded the No-Fault Divorce Bill through to its first reading in the commons in 2015, is ready to revive legislation and ask MPs to decide whether they want change.Bacon said that the current position goes against government thinking that disputes should be taken away from the court and towards mediation and alternative dispute resolution. ‘There should be a less traumatic and less costly way of dissolving marriages that have suffered irretrievable breakdown,’ he added.He insisted the campaign was not about making divorce easier, and he proposed a 12-month ‘cooling off’ period before a divorce could be finalised.Greater availability of no-fault divorce – it is available to both consenting parties after two years and where one party consents after five years – has been supported by family law group Resolution, which sent a delegation to lobby MPs last year.Although often in the minority on the panel of the fringe event, Thomas Pascoe, from the Coalition for Marriage, appealed directly to Conservative members to follow their natural inclination to spike such a proposal.‘Who do you want to be as a party? Do you want to stand for the few and the irresponsible and put convenience before community? There is an alternative which is genuine moral Conservatism.’
Karl Chapman, Riverview Law Global accountancy giant EY today laid down a significant marker in its expansion into legal services with the capture of forward-thinking firm Riverview Law. The acquisition, announced this morning, is expected to complete at the end of this month after which Riverview Law will be known as EY Riverview Law. No financial details were revealed. The deal marks another step in what has long been predicted would be the rise of the ‘Big Four’ accountancy firms to rival – and possibly overtake – the biggest existing law firms. Each of those four, EY, KMPG, PwC and Deloitte, now provide reserved legal services.To give a sense of the scale of their financial might, EY reported income of £2.35bn in the UK last year – far in excess of any law firm’s turnover in the same period.EY, which entered the legal market in 2014 through an alternative business structure, says it now has more than 2,200 law practitioners in member firms across 81 jurisdictions. According to a statement it now intends to enhance and scale up its legal managed services offering and help clients to increase efficiency, manage risk and reduce costs of routine legal activities. The company said the acquisition helps give EY ‘first-mover advantage’ in legal managed services and establishes it as a ‘leading disruptor’ of legal services. Riverview, led by Karl Chapman, has been at the forefront of efforts to change how legal services are packaged and marketed, marketing itself as a fixed-fee provider for blue-chip clients with an emphasis on technology. Cornelius GrossmannEY Global LawCornelius Grossmann, EY Global Law Leader, said: ‘Legal managed services is one of the fastest growing segments of the legal market. This acquisition underlines the position of EY as a leading disruptor of legal services; it will provide a springboard for current EY legal managed services offerings and bolster the capabilities that we can help deliver for EY clients. ‘We recognise the expertise that Riverview Law has in this growing market area, which when married with the global EY footprint and legal understanding will help drive significant opportunities for EY clients.’ Riverview was created as a trading name for LawVest Ltd, whose shareholders included DLA Piper and HR outsourcing firm AdvisorPlus. The firm was among the first alternative business structures to enter the commercial market, offering annual contracts providing unlimited legal advice, scrapping hourly billing and fixing fees on all services. Initially a team of around 75 lawyers, including 43 barristers, were recruited to work in a corporate rather than partnership structure. In 2013, the firm unveiled plans to hire 100 new staff including lawyers, business law executives, client managers, IT developers and data analysts. Chapman stated the firm’s recruitment policy was to eschew qualified lawyers and take on school leavers only who could be trained in-house. The firm has also worked with the University of Liverpool to find ways of applying artificial intelligence to legal processes.The firm has also worked with the University of Liverpool to find ways of applying artificial intelligence to legal processes.But the most recent published accounts, covering the year ending 30 September 2017, show the business was not having the impact some had predicted.Riverview Law actually reported a net loss of around £17,000, with net liabilities of more than £2.3m. The average number of employees, including the directors, was reported as 93.Karl Chapman, chief executive of Riverview Law, said: ‘The legal profession is going through a period of significant global upheaval. Changes in regulation, technology and most importantly customer expectation create an opportunity for a more flexible and customer-centric approach to the provision of legal services. We believe that the combination of the Riverview Law operating model, operating platform and people, alongside the EY brand, EY clients, existing legal services offering and global scale is a winning formula for the legal market.’
The Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) collaborated with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to complete a successful four-day Sports Administrators’ course on Sunday at their headquarters at Liliendaal. The course, which interested 21 participants, featured a course outline which included the following topics: Challenges Facing Sports, Budget & Money Management, Drugs & Doping in Sports, Strength & Conditioning in Sports, Sport & the Law, Mental Health in Sports, Women in Sports, Sports Nutrition and Drugs along with Doping and other topics.Several high profile speakers took the microphone during the four-day event.They included Chief Justice (Ag) Roxanne George, Attorney-at-Law Emily Dodson, Hector Edwards, Garfield Wiltshire and Charles Corbin. Following the course assessment, Deje Dias of the Guyana Squash Association (GSA), Willon Cameron of the Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF) and Emerson McKoy emerged as the three top performers.