AUGUST 2023 – ARTICLES & ITEMS OF INTEREST
THE LEGAL QUALITY STANDARD OF IRELAND
AUGUST 2023 – ARTICLES & ITEMS OF INTEREST
PIAB LEGISLATION AND RULES GOING TO CHANGE SIGNIFICANTLY FROM THE 4 SEPTEMBER 2023
In the Summer edition of the Parchment there is an article on the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) recent notification to the profession of significant changes pertaining to applications being made as and from 4 September 2023.
The 3 key changes to be aware of are:-
- All PIAB application forms after the commencement of the legislation from the 4 September 2023 will require the claimant’s signature, even where the claimant is represented.
- All applications must be accompanied by a medical report prepared by a medical practitioner, setting out the nature of the injuries allegedly sustained.
- All applications to PIAB will require more detailed descriptions in relation to when, where and how, the accident or incident causing the injury occurred.
Once the relevant sections of the legislation are commenced, all the above and additional requirements, which are detailed in this article, will need to be provided to PIAB in order for the application to be complete under the legislation.
To view this article in full see https://issuu.com/256media/docs/parchment_summer_2023-flipbook?e=16581915/97470438
See also guidance note from the Law Society of Ireland https://www.lawsociety.ie/news/news/Stories/guidance-note-piab-legislation–important-change-notice
AML – QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
On the 16 August 2023, the Law Society of England and Wales website published a questions and answers piece from their Practice Advise Service.
It answered the following questions:
- I work in a small firm. Sometimes the electronic verification checks into whether a client is a PEP are inconclusive. How far do we have to go to ascertain this?
- How long should we retain CDD records? Can it be for the same length of time as the file?
- We’re on boarding a client and need to carry out due diligence. Our overseas branch office is acting for the client. Can we obtain the documents from the branch rather than ask the client again?
To view the replies to any of these questions see https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/topics/anti-money-laundering/peps-cdd-and-poca-answering-your-questions
IMPORTANCE OF ADHERENCE TO EQUALITY, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION POLICY AND PROCEDURES
On the 22 August 2023, the Irish Legal News published an article stating that the figure published by the WRC show that it received 466 employment equality complaints and 222 equal status complaints in the first six months of the year.
The employment equality complaints can be broken down as follows:-
- 24% involved disability
- 21% involved gender
- 15% involved race.
- 14% concerned family status
- 13% concerned age
- 5% concerned civil status
- 4% religion
- 3% sexual orientation
- 2% membership of the Travelling community
Anna Perry, acting director-general of the WRC, said “We are working with our stakeholders to deliver this key message — the place to make a complaint about discrimination is to the WRC.”
The article stated the WRC has recently developed some animated videos on a range of topics, including mediation, adjudication hearing, advisory reviews etc., but there are also specific videos relating to discrimination at work as covered by the Employment Equality Acts and discrimination in relation to the provision of goods or services, as covered by the Equal Status Acts.
To view this article see https://www.irishlegal.com/articles/nearly-500-employment-equality-complaints-in-first-half-of-2023 and to view the videos available on the WRC website see https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/what-we-do/wrc-videos/
OUT OF HOURS EMAIL
On the 29 August 2023, there was an article published in the Daily Mail by Victoria Allen, Science Editor for the Daily Mail titled “Why you should consider putting a daily ‘out-of-office’ email on, according to scientists”.
She states “Researchers spent months analysing 62 separate studies on work emails …..and the research paper was published in the Journal of Occupational and Organisational Psychology”.
Some of the key points stated in the article include:
- They found answering emails at all times of the day could make you less productive and happy.
- Experts now recommend everyone picks a time of the day when they need to switch off from their emails, and think about putting their ‘out-of-office’ on, so senders know not to expect a reply.
- They advise better email ‘etiquette’, so that time away from inboxes is respected by others.
- People should be civil in emails, which includes not copying in someone’s boss passively-aggressively when you don’t get an instant response, and keeping messages short and to the point.
- They should keep work emails work-related, so colleagues don’t get distracted and messages are more efficient.
- The researchers advise setting time goals, like checking email only every 45 minutes while doing a task.
- It is important to deal with and not ignore your inbox, deleting some emails and putting others in folders, to reduce stress and boost work performance.
FINDINGS FROM THE RECENT LAW SOCIETY SURVEY OF THE PROFESSION
In the most recent edition of the Law Society Gazette (Ireland), Director General Mark Garrett shares his insights on some of the findings emerging from the Law Society’s recent survey of the profession. Mark McDermott and Angela Flanagan report.
The results of the survey are based on the responses from 2,264 solicitors and trainees, who represent the full cross-section of the profession, constituting a rate of response of about 12%.
The director general stated that the survey is just the first of a four-stage strategic process:
- ‘The first phase is the ‘discovery and research’ phase, where we are gathering all of the information from different stakeholders.
- The second phase is ‘purpose’ – so knowing all we know from the discovery phase, we will then look at the Law Society’s purpose, bearing in mind the need to balance the interests of our members and the public interest that we serve.
- The third phase is ‘devising the strategy’. Once we’ve determined our purpose, the strategy will be put in place to achieve it
- The final phase will be ‘implementation’, where we will install an implementation plan to make sure that we achieve our strategy.’
The survey found that the CHALLENGES identified by the Irish Legal Profession include Cybersecurity and cybercrime (91%); Recruitment and talent retention (82%); Regulations and compliance changes (81%) and OPPORTUNITIES identified as Digital technology (49%); Growth in the Irish economy (47%); Supporting employer against cybercrime (44%).
In terms of work, the key areas of practice for solicitors are conveyancing (44%), litigation (38%), civil litigation/personal injuries (32%), probate (31%), and commercial (28%) law.
Key areas of expected growth in the next 5 years include Data Protection; Artificial Intelligence; Environmental and Planning; Alternative Dispute Resolution; Commercial; Energy and Infrastructure.
The survey found that respondents are positive about the future of the profession, with a 40% optimistic versus a 29% pessimistic view. The data shows that there is a greater optimism among in-house, equity partners, trainees, and larger firms. Optimism is lower among sole practitioners and partners, and practices of three or fewer solicitors.
The survey results capture valuable and disturbing data about the impact on personal and professional wellbeing. More than one in four respondents described wellbeing and mental health as an ‘extremely challenging’ issue (27%), with just over one in every two respondents saying it was ‘challenging’ (51%).
The survey highlights, too, that over one-third of those surveyed highlight that ‘bullying, harassment or sexual harassment’ was a ‘significant’ (32%) or ‘very significant’ (6%) issue for them. The director general stated “That is an unacceptable level in any workplace” and “it emphasises once again the need to continue to prioritise the recommendations of the Dignity Matters report published by the Law Society in 2021 to address these concerns.”
To view the above and more in greater detail see https://www.lawsociety.ie/globalassets/documents/gazette/gazette-pdfs/gazette-2023/july-2023-gazette.pdf#page=45
SRA (ENGLAND & WALES) ORDERED TO PAY £75,000 COSTS FOR ‘SPECULATIVE’ PROSECUTION
This month it was reported on the Law Society of England and Wales website, that their Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal had ordered the regulator to pay the £75,000 costs of a solicitor cleared of giving bad advice on property developments.
Following a two-day hearing last month, the tribunal dismissed allegations against Hon-Ying Amie Tsang, ruling that she had acted reasonably within the terms of her retainer.
In such circumstances, the SDT would routinely make no order for costs or even order the respondent to pay something towards the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s costs. But in this case, the tribunal noted there had been an ‘inordinate delay’ in prosecuting the case which not only caused Tsang considerable anxiety and stress but which had damaged her reputation and her practice ‘substantially and unjustifiably’.
To view the details of this matter see https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/sra-hit-with-75000-costs-bill-for-speculative-prosecution/5117093.article