Any prospect of a new ban on referral fees has been dealt a second major blow in the space of a few weeks, as a new report for the Legal Services Board recommended that the fees should be retained last week. The Legal Services Consumer Panel’s report called for greater disclosure of referral fees and better regulation, but found that the payments do have a place in the legal services market and should be allowed to continue. The findings came hot the heels of an economic analysis from consultants Charles River Associates two weeks ago, which advised the LSB that there was no evidence that referral fees caused consumer detriment, in either the conveyancing or the personal injury market. Publishing the consumer panel report, panel chair Dr Dianne Hayter said: ‘Greater transparency combined with tough action against rule-breakers is needed to ensure that referral fees work in the interests of consumers. ‘Referral fees have their problems, but they can increase access to justice while not raising prices or reducing the quality of advice. So long as the issues identified in the panel’s report are successfully tackled, referral fees have their place in the legal services market.’ The panel called for action to tackle a number of problems, including: the issue of closed bids and auctions, which mean work is referred to the lawyers paying the highest referral fees rather than the best lawyers; pressure-selling tactics by estate agents and insurers to get clients to accept the lawyers they recommend; high levels of non-compliance with transparency rules by conveyancers and estate agents; and competition concerns raised by the trend for introducers to refer work to a small number of large law firms. However, despite these concerns, the panel said evidence suggests referral fees do not increase the prices paid by consumers for legal services or reduce the quality of work. The panel’s report revealed the large sums of money that change hands between lawyers and introducers. Conveyancers pay fees of up to £300 an instruction to estate agents, while claims management companies typically receive referral fees of £800 from a lawyer in respect of a client injured in a road traffic accident. Adding the costs of medical experts, car hire companies and others, the total commission paid in a single case can reach £1,500. The consumer panel as set up by the LSB last November and referral fees were the first item on its agenda. David Parton, residential conveyancing partner at regional firm Shoosmiths, said: ‘I can’t see how a ban could possibly [now] come to pass. ‘Prior to the election the Conservatives said they were not in favour of a ban. Ultimately if the LSB came down in favour of a ban, it would be going against the views of the Solicitors Regulation Authority; the consumer panel and the government.’ He said: ‘The general consensus is that a ban wouldn’t reflect the commercial reality of the way work is referred or the benefit of the system to consumers or lawyers.’ To return to a ban would be to ‘go back to the dark days’ where firms engaged in opaque arrangements to get around it, he said. Richard Barnett, senior partner at volume conveyancer Barnetts and chair of the Law Society conveyancing and land law committee, said: ‘It’s likely that referral fees will continue to be allowed, but with some revisions.’ ‘It would be useful to reflect on where there might be difficulties with the current system. There needs to be some sanction for those introducers who abuse the system,’ he said. Barnett said he would like to see ‘transparency and choice for consumers’, and those within the system should be made to ‘act responsibly’. ‘The real issue is not referral fees per se, but rather how the profession will be able to work alongside the new alternative business structures. A system needs to operate so that work can easily be referred where appropriate. If no system exists then the work will remain with those with the biggest brand name and biggest marketing budget.’ In November 2009, the Law Society Council voted to press the LSB to ban referral fees across the board. Law Society president Robert Heslett said: ‘The Society is disappointed that the consumer panel has not recommended that referral fees should be banned. We believe these fees create a real danger that consumers will be treated as commodities that can be bought and sold and that the existence of the fees will either increase prices or place tensions on solicitors’ duties to act in their clients’ best interests. ‘Whatever final conclusions are drawn, we take the view that requiring an estate agent or insurer to tell their customer how much they sold their case for must be a minimum sensible reform,’ said Heslett. Laurence Besemer, chief executive of the Forum of Insurance Lawyers, said that both the consumer panel report and the previous report by Charles River Associates, both of which found that there is no detriment to consumers, did not look at the wider public interest or economic impact of referral fees. ‘The consumer is wider than the claimant – those who pursue claims are a fraction of society. The cost of referral fees is picked up business and by those who pay insurance premiums but do not make claims,’ he said. The LSB hopes to give its position on the issue by the end of the summer at the latest.
LONG-STANDING readers may remember the Texas TGV, a proposal to build a 1000 km high speed network linking Dallas, San Antonio and Houston. This bit the dust in 1994 after Texas TGV Corp failed to raise sufficient funding for a franchise to build and operate the routes. Something similar, if a trifle more challenging, is now back in the arena.Billed as the Trans Texas Corridor, the proposal consists of ’a series of infrastructure corridors located throughout Texas’ with a total length of 6700 route-km. If that is not impressive, read on.Each 66m wide corridor would have six rail tracks, two for high speed passenger trains, two for commuter services, and two for freight. There would also be a 10-lane highway, with two lanes in each direction reserved for lorries. Not only that, but a 60m strip would be allocated for utilities – electricity, oil and gas.Priority segments would link Denison to the Rio Grande valley, Texarkana to Houston and Laredo, Dallas-Fort Worth to Houston, and El Paso to Orange. Price tag for this monster project is $142bn to $183bn, and the ’development span’ is 30 years, during which time the population of Texas is expected to nearly double from 21 million to 40 million.The gigantic scope of the Corridor explains why representatives from the Texas Department of Transportation began touring Europe in September, with stops scheduled in London, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid and Roma. The roadshow was organised by Halcrow as part of its work for Texas DoT.Texas TGV was killed off by an unholy alliance of farmers and airlines. This looks altogether bigger and may have more momentum. Time will tell. n
At the IMS 2020 virtual event, Keysight is showcasing its innovative tools for RF & mm-Wave design, simulation, and testing. We have listed their complete IMS 2020 presentation schedule. Users do not need to log in to watch this live, but can see these on-demand any time till September 30 2020.Here is a summary of what Keysight is doing at the event:AUGUST 0410:10 AM – 11:50 AM (PDT)Multi-Channel mmWave EW Receiver Workshop (IW17ABC)This session will describe how the DDC and mm-wave bandwidth options provide a multi-channel, coherent receiver with alternatives for bandlimited, tunable applications where the full instantaneous bandwidth of the scope is not needed. Key RF performance specs will be presented, as well as techniques for linking scopes for 8, 12, or more channels of coherent acquisition. The 89601B VSA software provides a convenient and powerful radar and pulse analysis application that is tightly integrated with the scope. Several live demos will highlight the powerful features discussed. We will close with an overview of other multichannel platforms available from Keysight. Also available on-demand.12:00 PM – 1:00 PM (PDT)Simplify Mixer and Frequency Converter Characterization with New Keysight toolsTesting mixers and frequency converters for 5G and satellite applications involves many parameters including gain, phase, delay, IMD, gain compression, and noise figure. With so many parameters to capture, it can take days or even weeks to characterize complex transponders. When you finally have your test results, you need to know if spurious or phase noise at the device’s output is from the device itself or from your input signal. It’s impossible to trace the origins of errors without a consistent and reliable test setup. Learn about the latest technologies in the Keysight PNA and PNA-X that feature extremely low phase noise and spurious emissions to help you measure complex components faster.1:40 PM – 3:20 PM (PDT)Tackling Emerging Wideband mmWave Applications then Moving Beyond into 6G (IW18AB)Today’s emerging millimeter-wave applications in the 57–71 GHz, 71–76 GHz, and 81-86 GHz frequency bands demand improved system performance to achieve higher data throughput using larger contiguous swaths of spectrum and higher-order modulation. Moving beyond 110 GHz and into 6G sub-terahertz research in D-band (110–170 GHz) and G-band (140-220 GHz) presents even greater opportunities and challenges. This workshop will discuss some of the key considerations in tackling the test and measurement challenges for today’s and tomorrow’s emerging millimeter-wave applications. Also available on-demand.3:50 PM – 5:30 PM (PDT)Phase-Noise Theory and Measurement Workshop (IW20ABC)This workshop explains phase noise fundamentals, measurement, and its impact on performance of RF/microwave systems. We will compare different measurement instruments and techniques. We’ll describe the role of the phase detector and the use of cross correlation in optimizing sensitivity, and we’ll discuss the impact of reference sources on phase noise measurements. Residual and absolute phase noise examples and practical DUT measurements will be shown. Lastly, we’ll examine AM Noise measurement techniques. Also available on-demand.AUGUST 058:00 AM – 9:40 AM (PDT)Learn 5G Signals, Demodulation and Conformance Tests with the VSA (IW14)The 5G standard is both large and complex. In this workshop, we seek to demystify 5G signal construction, demodulation, analysis, measurements and conformance tests with a series of lab demonstrations, leveraging the 89600 VSA software with the UXA signal analyzer along with the Signal Studio software with the VXG signal generator. Besides serving as a world-class measurement tool, the VSA can also be used as a wonderful learning vehicle, enabling a student of a new standard to explore characteristics of his/her signal under test. We look forward to sharing the story of 5G signal construction, measurements and analysis. Also available on-demand.10:10 AM – 11:50 AM (PDT)Cryogenic Measurement Challenges for Quantum Applications (IW7ABC)Advances in quantum control used to encode information quantum processors, is critical for scaling quantum computing beyond current NISQ-era architectures. For the prevailing quantum computing paradigms, future generations of quantum control circuitry will need to operate at cryogenic temperatures. This workshop will focus on the measurement and calibration challenges encountered when performing microwave characterization of these components at cryogenic temperatures. Keysight experts will discuss typical measurements in this application space and some methods for eliminating the errors. Lake Shore Cryotronics, will share insights for wafer-level, microwave device characterization including device temperature, probing challenges, and quality of calibration at cryogenic temperatures. Also available on-demand.12:00 PM – 1:00 PM (PDT)Project ConnectJoin Joseph Kovacs, Solutions Partner Manager with Keysight, on a panel that provides under-represented minority engineering students the opportunity to attend IMS 2020 to interact with practicing engineers. Learn about the exciting new technologies being developed today that introduce students to a variety of careers in the area of microwave engineering.3:50 PM – 5:30 PM (PDT)Understanding 5G New Radio (NR) Release 15/16 Standards (IW26)5G New Radio (NR) differs significantly from previous generations of wireless standards while opening the door to new business models. It introduces a new end-to-end network architecture that promises high data throughput and ultra-reliable low latency connections. Learn about the technology and challenges associated with the implementation of the 5G NR Release 15 standard and uncover new details about its numerology, frame structure, and waveforms. We’ll discuss initial access and beamforming and find out how they work in different network architectures. We’ll review key aspects of 5G NR Release 16, so you can prepare for the new applications it enables. Also available on-demand.AUGUST 069:55 AM – 10:10 PM (PDT)USB Noise Source with Internal Current and Temperature Correction for ENR Uncertainty Improvement (THMA53)Most noise sources in the market are powered by 28V without data transfer capability. This presentation introduces Keysight’s latest USB noise source that provides ease of use in powering up the noise source and facilitating data transfer. The main issue via the USB approach is the high ENR uncertainties due to unwanted heat dissipation from switching regulators, which eventually degrades the accuracy of the actual DUT noise figure measurement. This presentation will discuss methods to reduce heat dissipation and the novel technique implemented to minimize the temperature delta caused by the voltage switching regulator. Also Available on-demand.Click here to watch Keysight’s complete virtual experience featuring webinars, demo videos, and additional resources on tackling the toughest mmWave design and test challenges.Click here to view everything RF’s coverage of Virtual IMS 2020 for more highlights from the event.
Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. There are no comments posted yet. Be the first one! Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow – The Belle Plaine Dragons continue their wild season with a double-overtime win over Neodesha, Conway Springs destroys Wichita Independent, Caldwell romps over Oxford, Udall stuns Argonia-Attica, and South Haven didn’t play. Another interesting week in high school football in Sumner County…Belle Plaine 33 Neodesha 27The Dragons won their third straight (when was the last time that happened?) with a double overtime victory over Neodesha. The Blue Streaks led for a significant amount of this game. Neodesha led 13-12 at the half and was up 19-12 midway through the third quarter.Then Tristan Warren scored a touchdown with 47 seconds left in the game. Belle Plaine got the two-point conversion to make it 27-all. In overtime, neither team would score in the first stanza. Belle Plaine then scored in overtime to win. We don’t have any other further details and hope to have statistics shortly. Belle Plaine is 2-0 in district play, tied with Fredonia and Douglass.Conway Springs 62 Wichita Independent 14The Cardinals had no trouble with the winless Panthers. An interesting anomaly for Independent – it has scored 14 points in all five of its losses. It has lost 14-36, 14-52, 14-42, 14-62, 14-62.Conway Springs led 23-0 after one quarter and held a 43-0 halftime advantage in this laugher. The Cardinals accumulated 495 yards. Collin Koester had 111 yards rushing, Zachary Mercer 105 and Peyton Winter 96. Scoring stats can be found here.Caldwell 56 Oxford 8 Caldwell’s Corbin Rice threw for four touchdowns and rushed for two more en route to an easy win over Oxford. He accounted for 269 of the Bluejay’s 335 yards of total offense. The Bluejays led 22-0 at the end of the first quarter and 50-8 at the half. Caldwell is now 5-0 on the season. Oxford is 0-5. Statistics can be found here.Udall 22 Argonia-Attica 14Argonia-Attica fell to 3-2, but worse fell to 0-2 in district play. Udall improved to 4-1 and 1-1 in district play. The top four teams make it to the playoffs. The Titans appear to be the lone team out at the moment. No stats were available at the moment.South Haven wins by forfeitThe Cardinals won victory without putting their pads on. Burrton did not have enough players to suit up.Follow us on Facebook.Follow us on Twitter.