Law firms hail victory against UK prime minister

by Steve Randall25 Sep 2019

Law firms hail victory against UK prime minister
The UK Supreme Court’s historic ruling that prime minister Boris Johnson’s prorogation of the UK parliament was unlawful is a victory for several law firms.

Global firm Herbert Smith Freehills acted for former British prime minster Sir John Major and partner Andrew Lidbetter says it is a case of fundamental constitutional importance in relation to the relationship between Parliament, the executive and the Courts.

“We are pleased that the Supreme Court has found that the decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification. When reaching its conclusions, the Court specifically referred to the unchallenged evidence of Sir John regarding the usual time it takes to draft a Queen's Speech," he said.

Miscon de Reya, acting for client Gina Miller, says the unanimous decision of the court’s 11 judges shows that the courts can be relied on to hold the executive to account and is evidence of the robustness of the system of separation of powers.

“We are glad that the Court recognised the threat to the rule of law caused by a prorogation based on misleading advice given to the Queen,” said executive partner James Libson. "This second success for our client Gina Miller in the Supreme Court is a testament to her resolve to take whatever steps are required to ensure executive overreach does not become a feature of our democracy.”

The firm previously represented Gina Miller to ensure that parliament rather than the government was in control of triggering the Article 50 process necessary to begin the withdrawal of the UK from the EU.

The latest case began in the Scottish courts, brought by a group of cross-party MPs represented by Balfour & Manson, a relatively small Edinburgh law firm.

"It is a huge vindication for the Parliamentarians who led the way with the challenge in Scotland and an even more significant reinforcement of the critical importance of the Rule of Law and the Sovereignty of Parliament. Hopefully Parliament can now get back to its essential work," said Elaine Motion, the firm’s executive chairman.

Law firms want expansion of direct listings rather than IPOs
The process used to by Spotify and Slack when they became public listed firms should be expanded according to two major law firms.

Latham & Watkins and Goodwin Proctor are among the advocates of using direct listings instead of IPOs to give more control to firms over pricing of shares.

The firms, along with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, have held talks to see how current rules might be changed, according the Financial Times.

The advantage for advisers is highlighted by the article, noting that Slack’s direct listing resulted in fees of U$22 million divided among three advisers, while Uber’s IPO saw fees of $106 million divided among 29 banks.

Baker McKenzie launches Disputes Clause Finder
Baker McKenzie has added a new legal tech tool to its Risk Management Collection.

The Disputes Clause Finder enables clients to answer a few questions to determine a disputes resolution clause that best fits the user’s needs.

"Legal tech is constantly evolving and the Firm is always on the watch for new possibilities," said Senior Associate Tobias Höfling. "From the early days the working group started exploring the Disputes Clause Finder, the goal has always been to help make things more convenient for our clients."

The tool is available at disputesclause.com