Law: Briefs

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WILLIAM ROACHE, who plays Ken Barlow in Coronation Street, started his case against against the law firm Peter Carter-Ruck & Partners in the Manchester High Court this week. The London firm handled Mr Roache's successful libel action against the Sun after the paper claimed in November 1990 that he was as boring as his screen character and hated by his television colleagues.

Mr Roache is suing the lawyers after he ended up paying both sides' costs when the jury awarded him pounds 50,000 - the amount the Sun paid into court in an attempt to settle the claim and avoid a trial. Costs swallowed up that sum and also left him with a six-figure legal bill. London firm Barlow Lyde & Gilbert is acting for Peter Carter Ruck & Partners, and Manchester law firm Lyons Wilson is representing Mr Roache.

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STILL IN the libel field, solicitor-advocate David Price, of David Price & Co, who is acting for John McVicar in a libel case (see main story) has scored a victory in the Court of Appeal which ruled that it is in the public interest for solicitor-advocates to have the same rights as barristers to conduct litigation on behalf of clients whom they have previously advised. The Court of Appeal case turned on a rule in the Law Society's code of advocacy which Christie's lawyers argued that Price fell foul of - that solicitor-advocates "must not accept any brief if they have been responsible for deciding on a course of action and the legality of an action is in dispute in the proceedings". The Court decided that Price could act and the libel case continues.

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CITY LAW firm Linklaters & Paines' talks to create the world's largest legal federation are reported to be in disarray. The UK firm is planning to link up with leading law firms in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain and France which make up the Alliance of European Lawyers. But the fact that the Paris firm Jeantet & Associes has reportedly refused to join the federation has led to speculation that another Paris firm Rambaud Martel will be asked to replace Jeantet.

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THE CHAIRWOMAN of the Equal Opportunities Commission, Kamlesh Bahl, has called for the Government to introduce a "super law" to bring the current sex equality laws up to date. Ms Bahl said that a response to an EOC consultation showed "overwhelming support for a new single statute which protects sex equality as a basic human right".

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