News in brief

Travers trainee sets up death row training

A Travers Smith Braithwaite trainee has organised a training event for lawyers and students interested in working on death row cases. Martin Luff has organised the training for charities Amicus and Reprieve. It will provide practical and theoretical skills to assist defence counsel with the representation of those facing execution in the US and will be run with Louisiana organisation A Fighting Chance, along with UK practitioners and academics. The programme runs in two parts: 5-7 March and 27-28 March. Luff said: I think anybody whos interested in spending a gap year or time out after their LPC on an internship would find this interesting. For more information, go to

Law course pass rates see dramatic hike

The number of students passing law courses at all levels of higher education is on the increase, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency. In total, 22,800 people passed a first degree or post-graduate course in law in 2003, which is an increase of 2,900 on the previous year. More women than men are taking law courses. Last year, 13,600 women passed a post-graduate or first degree, while the equivalent figure for men was 9,200.

Ilex strategy document keeps it real

The Institute of Legal Executives (Ilex) has launched a new strategy document which sees it pledge an assurance that its professional qualification remains relevant to the needs of law firms and legal departments. Launching the document, Ilex president George Owens said: Ilex will continue to broaden its appeal to those interested in a legal qualification, but not necessarily qualifying as a legal executive.

Ulster law student honoured

A University of Ulster law student whose research directly influenced the role of the Childrens Commissioner for Northern Ireland, Nigel Williams, has scooped a research award for her work. Lisa Melarkey received 500 and a Science Shop award, which recognises projects that have made a significant contribution to the community sector. She won the award for her analysis of the Commissioner for Children and Young People (Northern Ireland) Order 2003 on behalf of the Derry Childrens Commission, which it used in its submission to Williams.

Trainee Solicitors Group elects new chair

The Trainee Solicitors Group (TSG) has appointed a new chair for 2003-04. Nicola Fitches, a newly qualified solicitor at Norwich-based law firm Steeles, replaces Nadia Akhtar. The new committee met in Edinburgh for the first time at the end of last year to discuss policy. In a new move for the TSG, it will co-opt student officers from around the country to sit on its national committee and assist the executive in progressing relevant student issues.

MDP blow as Deloitte splits with law firms

Accountancy giant Deloitte is set to bow out of the European legal services market. A review of its European legal network will recommend that the law firms sever ties with their accounting parent and found an independent legal network. Although Deloitte was probably the big four accountant least committed to a legal network, this is yet another nail in the coffin of the multidisciplinary partnership concept. The move follows a decision between KLegal and KPMG UK to sever ties with each other.