Morning Briefing: Queen attends Magna Carta commemoration

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The Queen attends Magna Carta commemoration at Runnymede
For once the attendance of the current monarch was a minor affair when compared to one of her predecessors. HM Queen Elizabeth II was at Runnymede in Berkshire, England, to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta, leading to democracy in Britain and many other parts of the world. The monarch at the time was King John, forced to agree to the charter although it was only confirmed in English law almost a century after his death. The Queen led the ceremony on Monday as patron of the Magna Carta Trust and was joined by the Duke of Cambridge, parliamentarians and thousands of well-wishers.
International law firm plans support hub in Asia-Pac
Freshfields, Bruckhaus Deringer is planning to open a support hub in Asia-Pacific providing back office operations for its lawyers on a 24/7 basis. The firm is about to open a new 40,000 square foot office in the north of England and is currently consulting with support staff at its London HQ as to how their roles are affected. The Global Centre (Europe) is recruiting for a wide range of positions and within the job descriptions on the firm’s website is a glimpse of the future: “Our aspiration is to establish two further sites in addition to this first site in Manchester – one in the US and one in Asia-Pacific – giving our lawyers the worldwide 24/7 support they need to deliver excellent client service.”
New HK managing partner for Ashurst
Ashurst in Hong Kong has appointed Lina Lee as its new managing partner. Current chief Robert Ogilvy Watson is returning to the corporate practice in London. Meanwhile in Tokyo Rupert Burrows will become managing partner succeeding John McClenahan.
Barristers say referral fees would “corrupt the market”
Barristers in England say that proposals to allow referral fees for criminal cases would corrupt the market and lower standards. The Law Society Gazette reports that a consultation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority on the wider issue of cutting some of the red tape for those buying legal services included a question on whether the ban on referral fees should continue. The Criminal Bar Association dismissed the idea and was critical of the regulator even considering the issue.