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Straw apologises for probation failings

first_imgThe justice secretary has apologised to the families of the two murdered French students for the ‘serious failures across the criminal justice system’ that left one of the defendants free to kill when he should have been incarcerated. Dano Sonnex and Nigel farmer were found guilty at the Old Bailey of the murders of students Laurent Bonomo and Gabriel Ferez. At the time of the murders Dano Sonnex was subject to a warrant for his arrest and recall to prison for breach of his probation licence conditions. Jack Straw said: ‘On behalf of the government I express my deepest sympathies to the families of Mr Bonomo and Mr Ferez and I am ensuring they receive every possible support.’ ‘These were the most appalling, sadistic and gratuitous murders. The direct responsibility for these killings must lie – as the jury found – with the criminals Sonnex and Farmer. But it is also the case that Sonnex could and should have been in custody at the time he committed these murders. It was the consequence of very serious failures across the criminal justice system that he had not been arrested and incarcerated some weeks before.’ Straw said he took full responsibility for the ‘unacceptable’ failings of the probation service. The chief officer of London Probation resigned and a new interim chief, Paul Wilson, was appointed to initiate changes. One hundred new probation officers will be recruited in London in the next two years Straw said the independent review by the National Offender Management Service concluded the problems were managerial not budgetary. He said last year London Probation under spent by £3.5m on a budget of £154m. ‘It was a failure to allocate London Probation resources sensibly between the different areas, to supervise workloads and to heed obvious warning signs – like sickness rates in Lewisham and Greenwich probation area (the area that had responsibility for managing Sonnex) being an average of 27 days per year, more than twice the London Probation average.’ ‘Whilst risk can never be eliminated entirely and the management of chaotic offenders is inherently difficult, there is clear evidence of poor judgement and failures to act promptly by the agencies responsible for managing Dano Sonnex,’ said Straw. He said he would personally monitor the progress made by the probation service until he was satisfied that high standards were being achieved.last_img read more

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Hundreds of Quinn firms yet to seek PII

first_imgMore than half of the 1,900 sole practitioners who currently have professional indemnity insurance (PII) with Quinn Insurance have so far failed to apply to the broker attempting to find them alternative cover. The news comes after Danish insurer Alpha Insurance last week said that it will enter the market, bringing up to £20m of fresh capacity. With the 1 October deadline less than a month away, broker Prime Professions, which placed 1,900 sole practitioners with Quinn at the last renewal, said 1,000 of these have not yet submitted proposal forms, and urged them to do so promptly. They are however free to use other brokers. Quinn confirmed last month that it will no longer offer solicitors’ PII insurance, meaning that its policyholders will have to seek alternative cover at this renewal. Prime has struck an exclusive agreement with Travelers, the second-largest PII insurer, to offer cover to some of these sole practitioners. Prime director Martin Ellis said this week that, of the 1,900 sole practitioners formerly with Quinn, around 300 have already been granted PII cover by Travelers for the coming indemnity year. Prime had earlier indicated that Travelers will take on three-quarters of the sole practitioners, but market sources suggested that the insurer will end up taking on less than a quarter of them. Nick Pointon, managing director at broker PYV Legal, which was one of Quinn’s brokers for small law firms, said that PYV is seeking or has sought cover for ‘hundreds’ of firms previously insured with insurance companies that have since pulled out of, or reduced their exposure to, the solicitors PII market. He said that firms have generally been good at submitting proposals this year. Danish insurer Alpha Insurance, meanwhile, will issue policies for firms of between one and 25 partners, in conjunction with Giles Insurance Brokers and St Giles Legal and Professional Risks. Alpha’s cover will be reinsured by Nasdaq-listed Greenlight Re, which has an ‘excellent’ financial stability rating from analyst AM Best.last_img read more

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Jackson reforms will ‘encourage third-party funding’

first_imgA leading insurer has predicted that the Jackson reforms will encourage a flood of third-party litigation funders to enter the UK market. Peter Smith (pictured), managing director of after-the-event (ATE) insurance firm Firstassist, spoke this week after clinching the sale of the company by Equistone Partners (formerly Barclays Private Equity) to US dispute financier Burford Capital. The £10.3m acquisition will create a one-stop shop for litigation funding requirements, offering both ATE insurance and third-party funding. Smith said the takeover had been accelerated by the Jackson reforms, which will restrict the ATE market and force law firms to seek alternative funding sources. ‘The third-party market is going to expand,’ he said. ‘There is £300m of funding available in the market – it’s growing already and the expansion will only get faster after the Jackson reforms. ‘We’ve been talking about this since last year and the Jackson proposals crystalised it. It was apparent that, as the first third-party funders came into the market, we had something to offer that they didn’t, particularly in risk assessment.’ Burford is a Guernsey-based financier listed on the London Stock Exchange, although its fund manager is based in the US, and most investors in the UK. In a statement to the stock exchange, the company said it intended to make an ‘aggressive push’ into third-party funding as an adjunct to, and hedge for, the ATE business. It added: ‘The acquisition is expected to be significantly earnings-enhancing in 2012 and to produce the leading UK provider of litigation capital and insurance solutions.’ Firstassist has a book of more than 3,000 active cases and has capacity for £10m of cover per case. It has been providing ATE insurance for more than 15 years and will continue to have its underwriting capacity provided by Great Lakes Reinsurance plc, a wholly owned subsidiary of Munich Re. The Burford deal is subject to FSA approval.last_img read more

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Partnering will tear us apart

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

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Hold up!

first_imgSubscribe 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 To 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-newsletterslast_img read more

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Move over, Don Quixote

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 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 community To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGINlast_img read more

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That dizzy feeling

first_imgGet your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN 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-newsletters 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

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Shark-infested contracts

first_imgSubscribe 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 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 To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAYlast_img read more

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A question of loyalty

first_imgGet 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 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 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

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Power without responsibility

first_imgSubscribe 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 community To 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-newsletterslast_img read more