Hundreds of mortgage borrowers are to have nearly three years' worth of unlawfully charged overpayments refunded following a ruling by the Court of Appeal in London on 8 th June, after a 2 ½ year legal battle fought by Cheltenham's Cotswold Barristers. In September 2013 the West Bromwich Mortgage Company (a subsidiary of the West Bromwich Building Society) increased the rate payable on their tracker rate buy-to-let mortgages by 1.99%, despite there being no change in the base rate. This meant that the repayments charged nearly doubled. The mortgages were sold as giving borrowers the security of knowing that the
Having seen action out on the field and up on the mounds as an officer in the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars (C Sqn RWxY), no challenge is ever too high for Jake Meyer. At 32, he’s already conquered Everest and successfully climbed the Seven Summits, fulfilling his dream whilst a pupil at Marlborough College of becoming the youngest person to scale the highest point of every continent. However, not content in stopping there, Jake is about to take on his most difficult and dangerous test yet, having accepted an invitation to join the first British team to embark on the challenging
Head of Chambers, Mark Smith appointed General Counsel for Property 118 following landmark case. We are pleased to announce the recent appointment of our Head of Chambers, Mark Smith as General Counsel of the Landlord Association for Property118.com , the leading real estate website forum catering for all aspects of business as a private rented sector (PRS) landlord. Boasting over 250,000 subscribers, the site was founded by businessman and private landlord, Mark Alexander, who originally appointed Cotswold Barristers to lead what became the largest direct-access case in legal history against West Bromwich Building Society. However, without the £500,000 worth of
It’s not every day our country’s monarch turns 90, making her the longest reigning sovereign in British history. So following in a tradition only the English know how, we thought we’d send a card from the team at Cotswold Barristers wishing The Queen many happy returns on her birthday. However, instead of popping down to our local Clintons to buy one and sending it via Her Majesty’s Royal Mail, we decided to go one step further, or in this case, several feet in fact by marking this landmark occasion with the momentum it deserves. Earlier this week, we welcomed to
We are very excited to announce that we are the proud sponsors of the Spitfire flypast at this year’s Imjin Music Festival. The event will take place at Imjin Barracks in Innsworth near Gloucester on Thursday 9th June in honour of Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday. Welcoming both families and friends to join in the celebrations, the festival will mark a landmark occasion in our nation’s history, starting with the seven-foot birthday card that has been passed around and signed by the local business community in the run up to the event. As Cheltenham’s first ever-legal chambers, this opportunity
High Profile Visitor at Cotswold Barristers Cotswold Barristers, the specialist direct access barristers' chambers in Cheltenham founded and run by C2S member Carla Morris-Papps, has attracted the attention of the national professional body The Bar Council of England and Wales. Carla was invited to address the Bar Conference, along with Michael Todd QC (former Chairman of the Bar) on the subject of New Business Opportunities for the Bar. This invitation came about as a result of the ground-breaking foundation and success of Cotswold Barristers, which enables business and professional clients to have advice and representation from a specialist barrister
The National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers “NACFB” represents over 1,000 commercial finance brokerages which are responsible for raising billions of pounds worth of commercial lending including mortgages, asset finance and cashflow funding for UK based SME’s. Cotswold Barristers and Litigation Warranty are delighted to have been approved by NACFB as their most recently appointed member services providers. It is inevitable that clients of NACFB members will, from time to time, share their legal problems with their brokers in the hope of receiving useful advice without incurring the exorbitant costs of solicitors. Most NACFB members help where they can but until now have
PABA is the Public Access Barristers Association, Cotswold Barristers are members. PABA represents the interests of the several thousand English and Welsh Barristers who offer direct legal services to the public and the business community in cases where the use of a Solicitor is no longer necessary. Under the Bar scheme launched in 2004, members of the public and businesses may instruct Barristers directly and without the intervention of a solicitor. This scheme is ground-breaking for the Bar of England and Wales. Whilst the media might portray the Bar to be arcane and remote, Public Access work involves user-friendly Barristers
Our question to insolvency practitioners is a very simple one; Do you usually seek Counsels opinion before or after discussing the potential for litigation with solicitors? We think you should do so before, and in this article we explain why and how doing so could help you to win and retain far more business. If you already instruct Counsel before referring to solicitors we will explain how we can help to make both the cost and the process even more efficient. As you will be aware, by asking slightly different questions, or even the same questions in a slightly different order, can
Having received confirmation from the Bar Standards Board that we are now an approved training organisation, Cotswold Barristers intend to offer one pupillage in 2015 and will announce the application process in due course. In the meantime, interested parties may wish to better understand the business model and our relationship with Litigation Warranty who are currently in the process of recruiting an Associate sales team.
What does ‘conduct of litigation’ actually mean? A major impediment to a direct access barrister providing a full service to a litigation client was that the client would have to do a lot of the administration of the case himself. This would include issuing the claim at court, signing off all papers filed in the case, and handling correspondence, even though the client had a lawyer, namely his direct access counsel, acting for him. The reason for this seemingly bizarre requirement is that these tasks, and others, fall within the definition of ‘conducting of litigation’, which was an activity that
The figures speak for themselves. A report in the Evening Standard (link to source article) on 24th July said- “A report by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime says the police response to investigating fraud is “inadequate” highlighting that an “astonishing” small number of fraud cases are actually solved by police in London. Figures show that a total of 81,631 frauds were reported to police by London businesses in 2013/14. A total of 758 of these were deemed “solvable” by the City of London Police run National Fraud Intelligence Bureau. However, only 177 cases were passed to the Met to
Below is a small selection of pictures from our new Chambers premises opening party held on 3rd July 2014. We will be publishing a lot more pictures in due course but we are holding off for the time being so as not to discourage the local media from using them in their follow up editorial articles. We will, of course, Tweet news articles and pictures as they are released and we will let you know when more pictures are added to this blog. In the meantime, by all means share this blog via social media (see social sharing buttons at the bottom
In a case recently brought to us via Litigation Warranty the call centre lines of our client had been hacked and programmed to dial a premium rate telephone number terminating in Cuba. Over the course of the weekend a bill was run up approaching £100,000. This risk is virtually uninsurable. Our client very nearly paid up because his telephone service provider was threatening disconnection if he didn’t. Any disruption to service would have involved a risk to our clients business in terms of loss of contracts which could have been devastating. This seemed to us to be unjust, so we
What would you do if the police were to knock on your door asking to see the occupier, search warrant in hand? Just suppose you knew that you had not broken the law! The Hon. Daniel Janner QC has very kindly provided the following story (which is based on similar cases) to showcase how his Criminal Law expertise could apply to any business person who co-directors are up to no good. We must, however, point out that some artistic licence has been applied and that Daniel did not actually defend this case as it is not a real case and has
In 1998 Mr Gonzalez, a Spanish national living in Spain, had to sell his house in Catalonia to meet a judgement against him for bankruptcy/insolvency relating to social security overpayments. In 2010 he “googled’ himself, and found that the 1998 report of this event in a local newspaper was one of the search results. Mr Gonzalez wished to put those matters behind him and although he had failed in his complaint against the newspaper (which could benefit from a journalistic exemption), he made a complaint to the European Court, arguing that continued publication by Google Search of those search results
Cotswold Barristers and Litigation Warranty are in the process of recruiting a Nationwide team of Business Development Executives. Please CLICK HERE for details of the product. The Role To present “Litigation Warranty” to professional practices with a view to them recommending the product to their clients. Required skills and experience Successful candidates will have completed a degree (legal qualifications preferred but not essential). You must have a full UK driving licence and your own transport. You will be required to demonstrate a high level of presentation and communication skills, written, on the telephone and face to face on both a
What is BARCO, what is an escrow account and what are the alternatives? These are the questions we seek to answer in this article. With freedom comes responsibility. The potent combination of direct public access alongside the litigation licence introduced in January 2014 has empowered the barristers' profession like never before, opening up new opportunities to provide a full service to clients free from dependence on solicitor referral. By the same token it has exposed counsel to a range of new obligations, not least of which surrounds client money. Rule C73 of the BSB Handbook makes it clear that “you must
If a letting agent defaults on obligations to pay rents collected on behalf of landlords or to protect deposits held for tenants then its directors may be held personally liable, even if their company is insolvent and/or ceases trading. Many advisers, including the police and other regulators, often advise victims this is a civil matter that if a company is in liquidation or receivership nothing further can be done. However, that isn’t necessarily the case. A little known fact is that victims can bring private criminal prosecutions against the owners of businesses and that any limited liability status of a company does not shield them from this.
There are considerable advantages in mounting your own private criminal prosecution. Speed . The case can be before the Court within days of instructions being given, and usually conclude within months rather than at the more leisurely pace of civil proceedings. Profile . Criminal cases are reported far more frequently than civil cases, and will thus bring added pressure on the defendant to settle any associated civil claim. Penalties such as compensation are unlimited and enforced by prison terms rather than the bailiff. Private prosecutions are not reliant on the financially pressurised police or other government agencies . Numerous viable
In 2012 Barclays Bank was fined over £250m for manipulation or rigging the LIBOR rate. Barclays was one of many that was fined for involvement in the scandal, following domestic and European regulators investigating the matter. The LIBOR is a series of rates that were fixed by the British Bankers’ Association, at just after 11am daily, and drawn from a consensus of rates that banks supplied, indicating the rate at which they would lend wholesale sums of money to other banks at, over various periods of time. The rates posted by the various banks also showed their individual liquidity and
How do we work out how much to charge you? Just pause for a moment, and think about whether any other legal services provider has ever discussed the mechanics of this with you. We are quite happy to do so, as it will enable you to see how we go about the task, and even if you do not use us for the matter at least you will be able to ask some pertinent questions of the provider you actually do choose. We go by these principles- To provide the best value for your legal budget. We do this by
Seeking a barrister’s view (or “counsel’s opinion”) on a proposed or actual legal issue is a well-known course of action amongst the legal fraternity. It was historically only open to a client if he first went to a solicitor, who would gather all the necessary information about the case, digest it, and then prepare “Instructions to Counsel to Advise” on whatever the issue was. There were several obvious drawbacks to this method. Cost -the client would face two sets of fees; the first for the solicitor, for not only preparing the case in the first place, but for passing on
Starting or defending legal proceedings can be daunting, and can have a significant impact on your finances. Before taking any step that will expose you to any risk your barrister will consider and advise you on the following options for you in funding your case, bearing in mind that your costs risks are both to your own lawyers and your opponent’s. Insurance. You may already have legal expenses insurance for bringing or defending claims, as a free-standing policy or under home or business insurances, which may cover you for some or all of your legal costs of both sides. If
Cotswold Barristers are delighted to support the aims of Rock The Cotswolds, a campaign to increase the Cotswolds worldwide recognition beyond its natural beauty to rank as an business hub which becomes synonymous with creativity and innovation. Having moved out of London many of our peers in the legal profession raised their eyebrows when we decided to settle in the Cotswolds and break the traditional business model. Steeped in legal tradition and red-tape , Barristers have only taken instructions via solicitors for hundreds of years. 10 years ago the laws changed to allow the general public to cut out the middle man; to
The accepted norm in the UK legal profession is for businesses to approach a solicitor with their legal problems. This generally runs up a bill of several hundreds of pounds (sometimes many thousands) before a barristers opinion is sought via traditional Chambers. The opinion then costs further thousands and all of this occurs before the solicitors client knows whether his case has a fighting chance. With our Litigation Warranty your business will achieve the same results for a capped price of £500 (written opinions) and often free of charge if the barristers initial opinion is that litigation is not a
A Direct Access Barrister can make or defend claims for you without you needing to engage a solicitor - very few people know this and it's only been the case for around 10 years. So what are the benefits of appointing a Direct Access Barrister as opposed to a solicitor? 1. Blurred lines - you may have had the experience of explaining your case to a solicitor, who then digests what you say and then asks a barrister for his opinion. The barrister gives the solicitor an opinion, which is then transmitted to you. Like a friend who never quite tells
Tracker mortgages were designed to give borrowers confidence and a measure of protection from the whims of lending institutions by pegging variations in interest rates to an independent base rate such as the Bank of England base rate LIBOR (London Inter Bank Offered Rate). These rates reflect a market consensus rather than the specific needs of the individual lender, and so the customer is more likely to find them competitive. As a result of two significant factors, both banks and customers are re-evaluating thousands of these deals. The first factor is the historically low base rate, which has remained at 0.5%
At Cotswold Barristers we provide a full service, being authorised as we are to conduct litigation, one of the vanguard. We can place a case in the hands of the person who will be at the sharp end, arguing for the client. So why are solicitors necessary? It is amazing how the prospect of actually having to present the case at trial sharpens the attention to detail. It may be that intelligent and articulate clients decide that it is the solicitor who is the luxury 'as well' that can be dispensed with. To contact us please CLICK HERE Be careful
“ An outstanding all-rounder whose knowledge of the law is second to none” Legal 500 2014 “Engaging and charming advocate… Provides excellent first instance and appellate advocacy… Has excellent rapport with juries….First rate legal acumen and particularly fine drafting.” Legal 500 Directory. Year of Call 1980 (Middle Temple - Jules Thorn Scholar) Queen’s Counsel (2002) Called to the Cayman Islands Bar (2004) Bencher, Middle Temple (2010) Areas of particular expertise Fraud (Civil and Criminal) Financial Crime Regulatory and Disciplinary Some of Daniel's more notable cases The Lord of Fraud - Rodley bank and boiler room fraud trials, involving
Our aim is to give you the best possible service at all times. Cotswold Barristers prides itself on the fact that complaints about the service provided by its barristers are very rare but we are always looking to improve our services and we welcome feedback from both solicitors and lay clients. Complaints are taken very seriously and will be dealt with in accordance with Chambers Complaints Procedure, which is set out below. We encourage you to let us know of any complaint at the earliest possible opportunity. In line with our friendly and open approach, in the first instance we would
The proprietor of this website is Cotswold Barristers Ltd, a company providing management, marketing and client care services for Cotswold Barristers (Chambers of Mark Smith). Nothing on this website should be taken as legal advice. Legal advice is only given by a barrister, and only after instructions are given and accepted in writing and under the terms contained in a client care letter. Cotswold Barristers provide 15 minute free telephone advice (by appointment, and advice in one-hour fixed fee conferences by appointment. This advice is legal advice and all professional rules applicable to barristers in practice apply to it. No
The Inns were historically as the name suggests they were, places of refuge where victuals and fellowship could be obtained in this most collegiate of professions. Indeed, it is not possible even today to qualify as a barrister unless one has partaken of at least 12 Dinners in Hall. There, the barristers and students dine together, in messes of 4, with the senior person in that 4 sitting nearest the north oriel window, serving the food to the other members, and ensuring the messes on either side are 'toasted' by name-ensuring that when the student leaves that dinner he knows
Never seen a table that drinks water Have you noticed how difficult it is to purchase only what you want nowadays? You can't order a bruschetta without being tempted to some olives; or even 'water for the table' (I have never seen a table that drinks water). In the era of privatisation, you can't post a letter without it being suggested it goes next day delivery guaranteed. Upsell pervades everything.
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Metaphor for our highly prized criminal justice system; mon 18 th 2013 Those of us who frequent public buildings are used to lifts being out of order and having to resort to the stairs. Not so today at Southwark Crown Court, where, as a result of flooding, the converse applies. No stairs, 3 fully functioning lifts. Bit of a metaphor for our highly prized criminal justice system; we keep going, making the best of things, even as the roof is falling in above us. There is no coffee either.
Straight to the heart of your legal problem. For advice or advocacy in respect of civil litigation matters or private criminal prosecutions or defence, Cotswold Barristers are the only legal team you will need. By removing unnecessary delays associated with legal fees insurance claims and the involvement of solicitors you could be in receipt of counsel’s opinion on legal matters in a matter of days as opposed to months. Our egg-timer logo symbolises our guarantee never to charge by time spent. Our Services Business contracts and associated disputes dispute Private criminal defence and prosecution Employment and HR Financial services and banking
Off to a County Court on the windswept extremities of the Central Line, to represent a Mauritian lab technician against a Pakistani taxi driver. The Judge looks so young. It's said that you know you are getting old when policemen start looking young; I suppose you can say 'and then some' when it refers to a judge. Judges, I hope, still enjoy their job. AP Herbert suggested that they do when any law crops up, but they spend most of their time adjudicating disputes between insurance companies driving cars with hawk-like attention, at appropriate speed, correctly lit, on the proper
Sam Cooke sang in 1963 ' A change gone come'. That is certainly true of the new BSB handbook and the proposed changes that will allow barristers to litigate for clients. This will mean that barristers will be able to give clients even more support and a competitive edge that solicitors will find very hard to match.
WHY? A case in the Court of Appeal last month has given a chance to those holding such products to challenge their validity in court. WHAT’S THE BACKGROUND? LIBOR is the collective name for a series of interest rates that were published (until they were barred from doing so in April 2013) by the British Bankers Association. The rates were meant to describe the actual trading conditions that banks were experiencing in borrowing and lending funds to each other. The most common rate was the one the bank would expect to pay to borrow funds for 3 months from another
Goodbye to hourly rates - although at CB they never existed. A leading solicitors' umbrella organisation is loudly touting its new policy of fixed fees for all pieces of work, claiming they are the first consumer legal service to offer this policy. Not so. Most barristers, including CB, have offered this across the board for some time. And why not? We consider that hourly rates are seen by our clients as acting to discourage expedition and efficiency. Fixed fees give our clients the ability to decide on the best course of action with full knowledge of their cost exposure. It gives confidence
It isn't just us being precious about names. It has real significance for access to justice. Once a person or business instructs a solicitors' practice to act for them in a case then no-one else in that firm can act for the other party. This may cause real problems in some areas, where each party wants the best in town, but whoever gets there first not only secures the best for themselves but prevents their opponent having that benefit. A barristers' Chambers is different, because each barrister is independent of all the others, and self-employed. CB, of course, has security
Straight from the horse's mouth. A barrister will be approached by your solicitor to get expert legal advice and representation-but now you can go directly to a CotswoldBarrister, and save yourself a considerable amount of time and money. [gravityform id="1" name="Contact Us:" title="true"]
To the handsomely-domed Brompton Oratory, at the kind invitation of John Bromley-Davenport QC and his publishers Bene Factum, to celebrate the publication of ''Space Has No Frontier' the terrestrial life of Sir Bernard Lovell'. Sir Bernard was a good friend of John's family, and the book's genesis was traced back to a conversation between them after dinner at Arley Hall. Sir Bernard then sent John a gift of his book 'In the Centre of Immensities', containing a generous dedication, which John rated as on a par at least with Prof. Hawking's books. Bristol-born, Sir Bernard led a remarkably multi-faceted life,
BARCO , in conjunction with PABA is holding a free seminar OPEN TO ALL clerks and chambers' employees to provide an introduction to BARCO and discuss how it can help support all practice areas. BARCO provides a unique solution that makes it easier than ever before to work with the Bar. This seminar is a prime opportunity to raise any questions in regards to what BARCO means for your chambers.
We heard 5 different speakers, giving a range of good insights into how others are marketing their direct access businesses. In particular there were very innovative thoughts from Nick Draycott, the digital marketing guru. He explained ways that chambers can reach their potential by having significant presence on as many social media platforms as possible. CB is already visible on many platforms and has plans to join others. We learnt that the term 'Direct Access' is searched for in Google far more than 'Public Access', but 'needs-based' searches are far more frequently carried out. The nuances of professional regulation are
As safe as the Bank of England was the old saying. I fear the force of this has been lost in recent times. Barely a day passes without at least one new financial scandal coming to light, on a scale that if practised by drug dealers and robbers would lead to massive sentences of imprisonment. CB is currently retained in a matter in a UK dependent territory, where one of the big 4 banks has lent £10m on a property worth £2m at most. To take the toxic loan off the books and out of view of their auditors they
"Until 2004 only a solicitor could engage a barrister, and the barrister's fee was deemed an 'honorarium', only payable on the honour of the solicitor. The barrister could not sue the solicitor for unpaid fees, until very recently, notwithstanding the rules that counsel should not be instructed unless the solicitor was in funds, and the brief fee was payable in advance. If you look carefully at the back of Counsel's robe, you will see a little sewn-up pocket, the remnant of when the solicitor would fill it with gold coins as Counsel, serenely above such grubby matters, looked the other
The ripples from the LIBOR manipulation scandal are starting to assume a greater force. Guardian Care Homes have won an appeal against Barclays allowing them to claim that an interest swap deal pegged to LIBOR should be declared void because Barclays had rigged the rate. Barclays didn't even concede that this was an arguable point. Just have a think about that. The profit is made from the interest chargeable- which is fixed by reference to LIBOR- which is manipulated by the lender- without the borrower knowing. And this was not conceded even as an arguable point by the bank. Just
This top-up course has been introduced because of the recent changes to the Public Access training and is for all those who have previously completed a full Public Access course through a Bar Standards Board (BSB) approved provider. It is a requirement for all those who have previously completed Public Access training to undergo a top-up course within 24 months of the official launch of the new Public Access training. This course will allow delegates to revisit various aspects of public access that they may have forgotten, had problems with and is essential to understand any amendments that have been
CotswoldBarristers are about to make clients lives a whole lot easier. Time and money is a real consideration for our busy commercial and business clients. They don't have the time to fill out forms and then trundel down to court to file papers only to be met with delays and therefore more calls on their time. At CotswoldBarristers we are able to for an additional fee take all the stress
There are trillions of £ worth of financial products pegged to the LIBOR rates. The attraction of these products to the borrower is that interest rate control is taken out of the hands of the lender and ceded to an ostensibly independent market-based external rate. The borrower can therefore back his/her judgement on whether the rates will rise or fall as against a fixed rate deal, and gives some measure of control that the rate will be broadly in line with the market. However, where a lender is able to influence the rate secretly this attraction is removed from the
Nerves affect us all. However articulate and intelligent our clients are, and we have plenty of both, they can be affected by the pressure of either pursuing or defending court proceedings. A CotswoldBarrister is not merely a skilled professional. He or she will act as a filter, a buffer from the raw visceral reality of the process, and a still voice of calm when even the best of people would find it hardest to act in their own best interests. A CotswoldBarrister will always protect a client, sometimes, and most demandingly, from himself. "Be calm in arguing; for fierceness makes error