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John Sergeant    

Journalist and broadcaster John Sergeant will be strutting his stuff on stage as the guest host and speaker at the Birmingham Law Society Legal Awards.

The former chief political correspondent for the BBC is making a welcome return to the awards in March next year, having first appeared in 2008.

John’s career in journalism spanned more than 30 years. Having started out as a correspondent on the Liverpool Echo, he joined the BBC as a radio reporter on the international desk in 1970, before becoming a war reporter, covering major conflicts including Northern Ireland, Vietnam, Rhodesia and the Middle East. 

However, John’s most memorable career moment came in 1990, while working as a political correspondent, when he was famously interrupted mid-broadcast by Margaret Thatcher. Emerging from the Paris Embassy, Lady Thatcher grabbed John’s microphone to declare live on-air her participation in the Conservative leadership election.

The incident earned John a place in TV history and a Press Guild Award for the most memorable outside broadcast.

John’s other memorable TV moment was in 2008 when he became the unlikely star of Strictly Come Dancing.

Albeit retired, as a freelance journalist and broadcaster, John can still be seen reporting for The One Show and is a regular on various Radio 4 panel shows.

John Hughes, president of Birmingham Law Society, said: “We’re really excited to be welcoming John Sergeant back to the Legal Awards as the guest host and speaker.

“John’s sharp wit and sense of humour, coupled with his insight into the political system and anecdotes from his time as a journalist, proved a hit with guests eight years ago and I’m sure he will be equally as entertaining when he returns to the stage next year.”

The Birmingham Law Society Awards will be held at the ICC on Thursday 9th March, 2017.

More than 550 people from the region’s legal and business community are expected to attend the annual event.

Nominations for the 12 award categories closed last week. The shortlist will be announced in January.

  • BREXIT – Article 50 – Should it be a decision of Parliament or the Prime Minister?

The recent High Court decision in the case brought by Gina Miller and others has highlighted some fundamental and very important issues regarding the rights and duties of Parliament, the Prime Minster acting under the Royal Prerogative and the impact of the decision of the referendum.

The recent headlines in some of the press   - the Daily Mail referred to the highly regarded judges who sat in the High Court and who passed judgment in the case as “Enemies of the People” - gives rise to great concern not amongst the legal fraternity but anyone who values the rule of law which underpins the whole of our Constitution.  The independence of the judiciary is a vital element of our Constitution.  Our legal system is rightly admired throughout the world for its integrity and independence.  What the case considered  was purely the process by which Article 50 should be triggered – NOT whether the Article 50 should be triggered or not.  The Court held that the Royal Prerogative (meaning that the Prime Minister can take executive decisions after discussion with the Queen and, presumably, the Cabinet without the need to put the matter to Parliament) does not apply and therefore the Prime Minster must obtain the approval of Parliament before the Government can serve notice on the European Commission triggering Article 50. The High Court agreed that the Royal Prerogative can be used to enter treaties but as membership of the European Union has resulted in numerous Acts of Parliament being passed as a result of membership and Acts of Parliament, which are passed by Parliament, can only be changed by Parliament, then Parliament must vote on the triggering of Article 50. This decision was reached after careful and detailed analysis of the law by some of our most able judges and, in my view, must be correct. I would be very surprised if the Supreme Court reaches a different conclusion.

It is disappointing that neither Liz Truss, the Lord Chancellor, nor Theresa May, has strongly condemned the head lines and reporting we have seen in the Daily Mail and other newspapers. Such accounts of the High Court decision, which appears to suggest that the Courts are trying to frustrate the decision reached in the Referendum, demonstrate an appalling lack of understanding of the role of our judicial system.  There is a worrying trend with some newspapers who seem to be intent on pursing their own political agenda without due regard to the facts. The British public deserve better than this. The Lord Chancellor has to take “due regard to defend the independence (of the judiciary) and the need for the judiciary to have the support necessary to enable them to exercise their functions” (s 3 (6) Constitutional Reform Act 2005). The Lord Chancellor should therefore carry out her statutory duties and roundly condemn the ill informed and dangerous reporting shown by some of the press following on from the High Court decision.

John Hughes 
10 November 2016 

12 August 2016


BPP University Law School is set to launch two new legal apprenticeships from September 2016, partnering with some of the country’s leading law firms to offer the pioneering schemes.

The new Solicitor Apprenticeship presents students with the opportunity for the first time to qualify as a solicitor through an apprenticeship route. All apprentices who successfully complete our programme will also be awarded the degree LLB (Hons) Legal Practice.

BPP University is one of the first universities to offer this innovative six-year programme, which will be available across its network of Law School sites.

While a number of employers, including international commercial law firm Eversheds, have already signed up for this scheme, other leading firms including, Jones Day and Burges Salmon have opted for BPP Law School’s new Paralegal Apprenticeship.

The Paralegal scheme gives students the opportunity to train as a paralegal while working towards the Certificate of Higher Education (Legal Services) and successful candidates have the option of progressing to the Solicitor Apprenticeship, subject to business need.

The new ‘trailblazer’ apprenticeship standards have been developed by a group of leading law firms to ensure that all students have the correct skills and knowledge needed to thrive in today’s legal services market.

Tricia Chatterton, Director of Legal Apprenticeship Programmes at BPP University Law School, said: “We’ve been working with leading employers to develop these new schemes, which have been designed to ensure that those embarking on a career in law have the optimum combination of training and on-the-job experience needed to succeed. Many firms are now exploring how the programmes can complement their existing graduate schemes.

“The introduction of these new schemes, coupled with changes to the way that apprenticeships are funded, means that more law firms than ever before are recognising the benefits that apprenticeships offer, and we are already seeing businesses in other sectors looking to create similar schemes in the coming months.”

BPP University Law School is one of the leading providers of education and training to the legal sector, with more than 60 law firms partnering exclusively with BPP University for the provision of the LPC to their future trainees.

LS BPP 2Line Lockup Positive Right CMYK


Annual Guide to the West Midlands Leading Law Firms
+ regional bar update
Thursday 6th october

One of the our most anticipated supplements of the year the Legal 500 gives a guide to the top 500 UK Law Firms and leading individuals within West Midlands practices.

This important annual research charts the impact of the top 500 legal firms in the UK and is widely regarded as one of the most important publications of its type.  The Birmingham Post has once again teamed up with the Legal 500 publishers to review the West Midlands chapter and discover which firms have excelled in the various sectors of legal work.

We are planning to publish this year’s Legal 500 findings on Thursday 6 October 2016 in a 40 page supplement format, which will enable the Birmingham Post to showcase a list of leading law firms and their individuals in West Midlands law firms across all sectors of business. We will also include a leading Regional Bar update for Chambers / Barristers too as we did last year.

If your business would like to take advantage of this unique opportunity to send important sales messages and valuable corporate branding directly into the heart of the West Midlands Business, Commercial Property, Financial and Legal sectors this would be the ideal platform on which to do so reaching our monthly audience of over 290,000 business people in print and online.

Please find attached on the second page below details of available options that include editorial and advertising packages should your firm wish to take part in this years supplement. We have substantially reduced our normal rates to help with ever tightening  marketing budgets which we hope will also allow the smaller firms to take part.

I look forward to discussing your possible involvement in Legal 500 2016 in the next few days. We are working to a deadline of Fri 30th September for all bookings and copy

The supplement is being published in association with Birmingham Law Society and we are pleased to confirm that Technology Law Alliance will once again be the main sponsors of this year’s supplement.

Tony Williams
Business Consultant
Birmingham Post
T: 0121 234 5262 | M: 07970 728274
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sponsored by



THURSDAY 6th october 2016

Main Sponsorship Editorial & Advertising Package:
(Taken by Technology Law Alliance)
Logo on front cover “Sponsored by” plus Outside Back Cover prime position Full Colour advert Plus Two Page Centre Spread Colour Editorial 
Piece of 1600 words plus up to 6 photos Cost: £3,450 plus vat (colour) 

Company Profiles (Advert and editorial)
Option 1) Double Page profile, made up of Full Page colour editorial (800 words) 
with up to 4 photos and a Full Page Colour advert next to the editorial page
Cost: £2,750 plus VAT (colour)

Option 2) Full Page profile, made up of Half Page colour editorial (400 words) 
2 photos and Half Page Colour advert below the editorial
Cost: £1,500 plus VAT (colour)

Advertisements Only - No editorial (Full Colour)

Inside Front Cover   Special Prime Position:   34 x 7 Cols   £1,900 + vat
Inside Back Cover   Special Prime Position:   34 x 7 Cols   £1,900 + vat
DPS (two pages)   340mm h x 546 mm w   34 x 14 Cols   £2,950 + vat
Full Page   340mm h x 265 mm w   34 x 7 Cols   £1,750 + vat
Half Page   170mm h x 265 mm w   17x 7 Cols   £950 + vat
Quarter Page   200mm h x 112 mm w   20 x 3 Cols   £575 + vat
5 x 7 Strap   50mm h x 265 mm w   5 x 7 Cols   £375 + vat

To reserve your space please call Tony Williams on:
Mobile: 07970 728274 | Direct: 0121 234 5262 | E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Final booking and copy deadline is Friday 30th September by 4.00pm
NB: Artwork needs to be supplied as a high resolution (300 dpi) pdf file which needs to be font embedded / outlined and saved in CMYK rather than RGB colour format. It needs to be sized up at the relevant size for whichever sponsorship slot option size you choose
legal500 2016

In anticipation of the EU Referendum to be held on the 23rd June 2016, Birmingham Law Society’s International Committee held an open debate with a selection of formidable speakers arguing the case for a “In” or “Out” vote. Kindly hosted by KPMG at their Snowhill offices, the event was chaired by Michael O’Brien QC of No5 Chambers.

Those arguing in favour were Professor Martin Trybus Professor of European Law and Policy at the University of Birmingham and Director of Institute of European Law and Malcolm Harbour CBE. The “Out” Debate presented by John Longworth, former Director of British Chamber of Commerce and current member of the American Chamber of Commerce and Careers Company, and James Carver, MEP UKIP.

Mushtaq Khan, former President of the Birmingham Law Society, opened the conference by stating: "Birmingham Law Society is a firmly non-partisan organisation, we do not intend to advocate one view or another in respect of the UK’s membership of the EU. We recognise that there are differing views within our membership as in society more broadly. Without taking a position, the prospect of withdrawal raises a number of serious issues to which we urge campaigners and political parties to give serious consideration as part of their commitment to serving the best interests of the UK and its people.”

‘Important new points highlighted by the 'Remain' side in the debate were that the EU single market is the only trade agreement that includes services - which are so crucial for the UK economy. The 'Leave' side admitted that there will be an economic shock after Brexit and appear to hope that Brexit will trigger the disintegration of the EU as a whole.’ commented speaker Martin Trybus, Professor of European Law and Policy at Birmingham University.

Malcolm Harbour CBE, furthered the argument to stay by sharing his experience of working in the European policy making reminding everyone how the UK has been so influential in shaping the EU we have today. Stating ‘The Single Market is a remarkable achievement, with trade and economic benefits that cannot be matched by any alternatives on offer. We should not toss aside 30 years of progress for an uncertain future.’

James Carver MEP for UKIP countered these by highlighting ‘The UK's relationship with the EU has fundamentally changed since we joined the European Economic Community back in 1973. After 43 years of unsuccessfully trying to reform the European institutions, the time has come to leave the EU, thus allowing us to negotiate trade deals with the Commonwealth and emerging markets, instead of, as currently happens, requiring the permission of the European Commissioner for Trade.

With a seat on the UN Security Council and leading roles on other international organisations, we are well placed to reach out to a wider world, freed from the constraints of our EU membership - The world is our oyster, but if we remain inside the EU, our future is as a clam.'

John Longworth, who quit as the director general of the British Chambers of Commerce in order to ‘tell the truth about Brexit’ mounted a strong case to leave stating that ‘By and large, the businesses who only operate in the UK and those who export to the rest of the world want to leave the European Union, these make up 87% of the UK economy… Being in the EU is making them less competitive.’ Representing what he terms are the authentic voice of the real economy, Mr Longworth gave evidence of how leaving the EU will benefit the ‘grafters with good ideas’ highlighting that ‘people who, like me, have done business around the world, who know that taxpayers’ money that Brussels currently wastes could instead be invested in Britain: in public services, in infrastructure and in such things as steel production.’

Tony McDaid, Practice Director at No5 Chambers commented ‘The referendum is something that will affect all businesses and following today’s event I am now rethinking which way I will vote.’

It cannot be understated how significant this referendum is and the BLS To Leave or Not to Leave? That is the Question... event went a long way in helping those attending to be able make an informed choice on 23rd June.