July 2012

Are You Your Firm’s Greatest Asset?

AssetWell, actually, no! You’re not its greatest asset, but you are part of its second-greatest asset, and that is something, in itself, to think about! Why? I’ll tell you later.

What, then, is your firm’s greatest asset? It’s their clients. Why? Well, without them there would be no firm, no business, no partners and no staff, because there would be no money coming in! So clients are extremely important – you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to appreciate that – as Aleksandr Orlov Meerkat would say – ‘Simples’!

Being Aware of Unhelpful Thinking Tendencies

Unhelpful ThinkingThe conscious (thinking) brain and the subconscious (emotional) brain

Our brain is a complex and fascinating organ. The thinking (conscious) brain operates at an intellectual level, giving us perspective and good problem-solving capability. When it works in healthy harmony with our emotional (subconscious) brain, we function at our best and can be at our most robust and resilient in dealing with whatever life throws at us. Research has shown that the emotional brain processes around 2 million pieces of information every second. In contrast, the thinking brain can hold only between five and nine things in conscious awareness at any one time. So, of necessity, all the pieces of information that the emotional brain deals with (like blinking, regulating blood pressure, telling us when we need food, etc., as well as the range of feelings and thoughts which it generates) need to be filtered before being brought into conscious awareness. The brain’s own filter mechanism is capable of developing and retaining unhelpful negative processes, the three most usual culprits being deletion, distortion and generalisation.

Civil Litigation – Reform to Costs

Civil LitigationIn our first review article on the pending reforms to civil litigation we will be looking in more depth at the changes intended to limit legal costs.

This is not the first time that legal costs have been in the spotlight. One of the highlights of the last set of reforms1 to our litigation system in the late 1990s was the attempt to address legal costs. It has been argued that, despite improvements made to the rules over the years, legal costs in litigation have remained stubbornly high. The current changes2 are due to be implemented in April 2013. We will examine below two key alterations to existing litigation procedure, namely the increased use of fixed fees and changes to how claims are funded.

Impeachment: The Guard of National Democracy and Public Accountability


My country (the Philippines) today, our highest judge was successfully impeached and just removed from power. But how do countries around the world treat the word “impeachment” as part of democratic process to ensure the public accountability principle? Our constitution provides the slogan of “Public Office is a Public Trust”.

Maintaining Self-Discipline During Your Studies

Self DisciplineHave you recently decided to return to studying after a long break? Perhaps it has been many years since you last found yourself in such a position, and now that you have enrolled on one of the Institute’s courses, you are hoping that you will feel enthusiastic right through to the end. Enthusiasm is a common emotion to feel at the start of a course of study, although it is sometimes difficult to maintain. Rest assured that there are ways in which you can control such emotions, and ensure that you remain steadfastly committed and enthused by the course.

The Criminalisation of Forced Marriages

Forced MarriageAs citizens of the United Kingdom we can take pride in the fact that we live in one of the most liberal and tolerant societies in the whole world. This is one of the most fundamental reasons why so many people are attracted to the idea of coming to live here. Generally, British people really do try to be open to the cultures from other parts of the world, and the term ‘multiculturalism’ aptly describes the way in which people from many different backgrounds are able to live perfectly harmoniously.

The United Kingdom or United Republic?

With all of the recent celebrations for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, we Brits were able to remind ourselves of the fact that we have the most popular monarch in the whole world as our head of state. Indeed, other kingdoms around the world have felt a certain amount of envy as they watched our country celebrate with what we are best known for: pomp and ceremony. As for the republics in the world, let’s face it, we all know how certain countries love to lap our royal family up, and you definitely get the sense that these countries can regret their republican status at such times.