Bell Yard Blogs

The Q2 2021 Litigation Horizon

So we are on the cusp of a litigation boom if a recent survey by Gallagher, the risk manager and insurance broker, (specifically Its Business Litigation Index) is to be believed. Employment litigation will surge later this year after the furlough scheme ends, with organisations likely to face a high volume of redundancy-related claims, Gallagher […]

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Climate change litigation – the heat is on

The battle against climate change is increasingly being fought in the courtroom, with the number of climate litigation cases globally almost doubling over the past three years, in an attempt to drive – or, in some cases, delay – effective action on climate change. According to a recent report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) […]

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Right to be offended?

In this seemingly endless time of lockdown, I have found myself hunkering down, fighting a daily battle to block out the constant stream of negativity across social, print and broadcast media in which I’m immersed. Am I alone? It certainly feels a little isolating. Perhaps it’s that fear is as contagious as the pandemic itself, […]

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Communications – The Key to Valuing Public Inquiries

It’s been 15 years since the introduction of the Inquiries Act 2005 in the UK, designed to improve the administration of public inquiries and advance a focus on cost and transparency in the process. Some 28 UK statutory inquiries have since been commissioned – 11 of which are ongoing – at a cost to the […]

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Comms in the age of Covid-19

Covid-19 hasn’t been good to Sir Richard Branson. A once much-loved public figure, Branson was voted Britain’s favourite businessman in the noughties. His image no doubt played a part in securing this accolade. A self-made billionaire, Branson challenged society’s stereotype of what it meant to be a businessman – he is eccentric, fun-loving, tie-loathing, and […]

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CLCA International Summit: reflections from Amsterdam

Despite all the shenanigans of Brexit, Bell Yard was grateful to receive a warm welcome from European colleagues last week at the annual meeting of the CLCA network (Crisis & Litigation Communicators Alliance), held in Amsterdam. Brexit was, of course, a key topic with other member firms asking how it is affecting our business, our […]

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Language, Timothy!

In an effort to attract hearts and minds, words matter.  I’m confident I’m not alone in feeling deep dismay at the debasement of dialogue among politicians, blithely following the crude degradation of our language by ever-increasing sections of the fourth estate. My great fear is this trend finds its way into the nation’s court rooms […]

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Opposing a pose

Amid the explosive political developments this week surrounding the House of Commons’ vote to rule out a no-deal Brexit, one image above all lingers in the mind: that of Jacob Rees-Mogg lounging languidly on the Conservative front bench during a crucial debate. Lambasted and mocked by Opposition MPs, in the media, and online, for embodying […]

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The Singapore Convention on Mediation

The Singapore Convention on Mediation, which opened for signature on 7th August, marked a defining moment in the Alternative Dispute Resolution world on a scale not seen since the introduction of the New York Arbitration Convention in 1959. Backed by 46 countries to date, including the world’s two largest economies, the United States and China, […]

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Diversity takes centre stage: Top 6 legal social mobility initiatives

The Sutton Trust recently published a report which found that 65% of the most senior barristers in the UK are drawn from fee-paying schools. Though the findings of the report were blasted by the legal profession, it got us wondering – does the legal industry do enough to ensure that students of non-traditional backgrounds can access the […]

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Better kept under wraps?

The recent news that Linklaters obtained an injunction preventing its former CMO from sharing information to expose the firm’s alleged struggle with women in the workplace gave us food for thought. Is it always better to keep your dirty laundry out of the public eye?  From a reputational perspective the answer is, usually, yes. Faced […]

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A lesson in sincerity

Gillette’s newest advert, launched last week, created a media storm – but for all the wrong reasons. The advert, riding off the wave of the #MeToo movement proudly calls for an end to ‘toxic masculinity’ depicting men catcalling, groping and coercively controlling women. The backlash is understandable. Making insulting generalisations about the conduct of your […]

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PR blunders of 2018 – what happened next?

As far as PR crises go, 2018 was a shaky year – retailers were brought to a standstill, CEOs were toppled and one of Britain’s best-loved fast-food chain was forced to shut its doors. At the close of 2018, we take a look at the biggest PR crises of the year and ask, what happened […]

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#MeToo – a year on: Lessons for law firms

It’s a year since the start of the #MeToo movement and perhaps more than any other profession, various big name law firms have found themselves tested by the challenges of this new era. No longer are complaints of sexual harassment or misconduct an HR issue. A firm’s response now has to be considered through a […]

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It’s silly season – but for whom?

A chuckle resonated through western media in June when a Japanese water company issued a public apology to its customers when it was revealed that one of their employees, a 64 year old man, had periodically started his lunch break 3 minutes early for a “change of pace”, totalling 69 minutes over a period of […]

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Youth, I do adore thee

The race to capture the millennial vote reached the height of farcicality this week when the Conservatives launched an online competition for ‘Love Island’ water-bottles, branded with the phrase “Don’t let Corbyn mug you off”. The water-bottles could be won in exchange for personal information, seemingly as part of the Conservative party’s ongoing efforts to […]

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GDPR: the reputational risks

You’re probably sick of hearing about GDPR – to be honest, so are we! But what does interest us is the reputational risks to a company, firm, or organisation if any should fall foul of the new, rather strident, regulations. The only way for the media to justify yet another GDPR-related story in the aftermath […]

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An unconventional audience: targeting the student community

Disgruntled students received more than £650,000 in refunds and compensation from universities over the last year, with the Office of the Independent Adjudicator stating it received 1,635 complaints in 2017 – an 8% increase on 2016. More recently, news reports confirm that law firm, Asserson, is representing 1000 students in a group legal action seeking […]

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The future cost of litigation

Behind many a closed door lies a scandal. The Financial Times’ recent exposé of the Presidents Club’s dirty dinner evinced the venom and volatility all too often associated with a reputational crisis. No reputation safe, no blushes spared.  It comes as little surprise that research by Thomson Reuters’ Practical Law reveals £26.2bn was set aside […]

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Paradise Papers: reputations unscathed?

With the media sensation surrounding Paradise Papers tempering, talk has turned to the legal and financial consequences of the leak – but what about the longer-term reputational fallout for those embroiled? One of the first to be publicly named and shamed was Lewis Hamilton – four-time Formula One World Champion, who allegedly avoided paying £3.1 […]

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Lawyers’ clients outline bugbears, and words matter

Reading this research commissioned by the Legal Ombudsman, Bell Yard firmly concurs that an early, simple, but genuine “sorry” can do wonders for limiting the damage to one’s reputation following a dispute – but be sure to be clear what you’re saying sorry for, and why. We’ve heard lawyers (but not exclusively this profession) who are reluctant […]

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Data breaches: a crib sheet for the Channel Islands

Reports that Appleby’s office in the Isle of Man may have been hacked in the Paradise Papers scandal, in addition to the firm’s office in Bermuda, will no doubt have sent shivers down the spines of various law firms, family offices and wealth managers based in the Channel Islands. Offshore centres like Bermuda, the Cayman […]

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The Wife of Weinstein – the unsuspecting victim

A tainted reputation is like a bad cold. It’s contagious and spreads rapidly by association – as the Harvey Weinstein case has so poignantly demonstrated. Weinstein was married for ten years to London-born fashion designer, Georgina Chapman, in a relationship which outstripped the length of your typical Hollywood marriage. The recent allegations of sexual harassment […]

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Raising the Stakes – Employment Tribunal Judgments Are Coming Online

HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) recently announced that new employment tribunal decisions will be available online from Autumn 2016. Employment Appeal Tribunal decisions and Court of Appeal decisions on employment law are already available via online services, so this new database will simply be extending the ability to search online for first instance judgments. Discussions with employment […]

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Broken Record? Where does Guy Hands’ Reputation go from here?

Having originally lost a lawsuit against Citigroup in New York 6 years ago for fraudulent misrepresentation in relation to his disaster purchase of EMI, Guy Hands was  putting that reputational blot behind him when up popped news of the London-based retrial, where he hoped for a markedly different outcome. It soon became clear all Mr […]

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Litigating in the Glare of Publicity

It takes a brave, or perhaps admirably thick-skinned, person to bring legal action against a former employer, particularly one that attracts incredible publicity and in an industry known for its heightened egos, celebrity and eye-boggling wealth.   Yet Dr Eva Carneiro’s determination to achieve a fulsome public apology from Chelsea Football Club, and high-profile recognition for […]

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Privacy, Public Interest and PR

An individual’s right to privacy versus the public’s right to information is a tussle that recently came to the fore once more. The UK media got over-excited about two “private life” stories and indulged in some rather disproportionate reporting.  First we learnt a celebrity won a ban to stop press revelations of his extramarital threesome […]

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Regulation and Reputation

It can’t have come as a big surprise that an overwhelming majority of the public supports an independent regulator of solicitors. A ComRes poll published last week showed 82% backing for solicitors being independently regulated. This will bolster the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA’s) ongoing bid for independence which, its Chief Executive says, will make regulation […]

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Not just at Xmas

Black Friday may be a bonanza for retailers in revenue terms but it also represents a key risk day for them and their customers, in the guise of the heightened threat of a cyber-attack, according to the consultancy ThreatMetrix. It has warned that online criminals will be super-active over the festive period, starting from today […]

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Just a little bit exploitative?

There’s something truly sad, and rather depressing, about the media appearances by the disconsolate father and stepmother of Becky Watts, the Bristol teenager brutally killed by her step-brother, aided by his girlfriend, in the wake of their convictions.  As consultants to individuals facing the most tumultuous of times, there are moments when compassionate advice is […]

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The Pri(n)ce of Silence

Given London’s credentials as a highly cosmopolitan city, it is well known that our court system attracts family disputes involving international parties, providing they can prove some nexus to the UK.  Pauline Chai continues to fight her husband, Laura Ashley chairman Mr Peng, to have her divorce heard here, on the basis of her residency […]

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Beware the perils of a tempting lawyers ratings site

The new ‘TripAdvisor’ style website for lawyers – ReviewSolicitors – should come with a series of warnings both for disgruntled customers looking to take pot shots at their lawyers and for solicitors wanting to protect their reputation by stamping out any criticism considered harsh or unfair. ReviewSolicitors allows people to rate their solicitor whether or […]

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Consumer Rights Act – No Big Deal for Consumers

The Consumer Rights Act, which came into effect today, 1 October, is unlikely to herald a deluge of class actions despite the implementation of an ‘opt-out’ system for collective litigation that will enable as-yet unidentified individuals to be included in competition law cases. The Act reverses the current system which requires all claimants in a […]

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UK Press Regulator Marks First Year Anniversary with Controversy

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has laid into the UK’s press regulator for rejecting his complaint against the Daily Mail over an article suggesting he tried to wriggle out of giving evidence to a parliamentary inquiry. Blair’s attack against the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) comes as the regulator celebrates its first year of operation […]

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Women Warriers – not Worriers

I can’t help but feel that gender difference has indeed played a role in the Chelsea FC doctor saga propelling the story to newspaper front pages – but perhaps not just simply down to the display of apparent sexism by an emotional male manager.  It strikes me that the mild, but meaningful, Facebook posting by […]

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London is still an attractive tourist destination for libel shoppers – but for how long?

London has recently been reaffirmed as the libel capital of the world following the case of Russian businessman and former senator, Vladimir Sloutsker, who has been awarded £110,000 in defamation damages by the High Court for allegations published in the Russian media.  However for cases arising post the introduction of the Defamation Act 2013, establishing […]

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Crowdfunding – the future for justice?

Crowdfunding gives retail investors a chance to back projects close to their heart and it’s no surprise that early successes have been in consumer-facing sectors such as clean technology, the arts and wine and beer ventures. Now the emotional pull is being used to attract funds to social justice litigation and fill an increasingly large […]

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Sorry seems to be the hardest word

So the boss of Thomas Cook has finally said sorry to the parents of Christi and Bobby Sheppard, the children killed by a leaky boiler during their holiday in Corfu. Whether this is a case of ‘too little, too late’ only time will tell.  The company claims their sales have not been impacted by the […]

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Do we need a British Bill of Rights?

“If the UK really wants to be its own boss it would have to formally withdraw from the ECHR” Marietta Cauchi, Senior Consultant The Bill of Rights proposed by the new Conservative government is intended to replace the Human Rights Act introduced by the then Labour government in 1998. It is due to incorporate into […]

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Did Ronan have it right?

Communicators lose credibility when the audience thinks of the messenger and not the message… All people want is natural honesty, alongside some realism Ours is the art of communication so I am always intrigued why people say so much, so often, how they choose to say it and why to so little effect.  Perhaps it’s […]

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