That-was-the-weekRichmond Chambers LLP became the first alternative business structure licensed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority that does not employ any solicitors. Paul Richmond, formerly of 1 Mitre Court Building, set up the practice with two other barristers and three paralegals to focus on direct access immigration work. Other barrister-run ABSs exist, and the Bar Standards Board intends to start licensing advocacy-focused ABSs next year.

The SFO added yet more barristers to its team of 25 counsel already involved in reviewing documents relating to the damages claims brought against the office by the Tchenguiz brothers. At last week’s pre-trial hearing it was revealed that the SFO has already spent over £100k on the disclosure review process. The brothers’ damages action was brought after they were arrested in dawn raids in March 2011 and the SFO’s investigation into their affairs failed. As it stands, the cost bill the SFO faces amounts to around 10% of its annual budget.

The second whole-life tariff of 2013 was handed down in Preston Crown Court. Dale Cregan pleaded guilty to four counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder, including the murders of two female police officers. The use of firearms was held to be an aggravating factor. Mr Justice Holroyde also stated that although the use of explosives attracted the same starting point in terms of sentencing as firearm murders, hand grenade murders were not something the courts were used to sentencing and highlighted the high tariff in this case as a deterrent. Other aggravating features included the high degree of premeditation and planning that went into the murders, including making a false report of an attempted break-in to lure the unarmed police officers to a residence for the purpose of killing them.

Retired footballer Paul Gascoigne brought a defamation and invasion of privacy action against the Daily Star after the tabloid published a video on its website (Caught on film: Gazza’s descent into booze and drugs madness) which was allegedly stolen from a mobile phone in his flat. The defamation claim relates to the paper’s allegation that Gascoigne was caught injecting cocaine, something he strongly denies.

A homeless man caught impersonating BBC television presenter Louis Theroux pleaded guilty in South Somerset Magistrates’ Court to dishonestly making a false representation. The defendant had booked a room at a pub under Theroux’s name, giving a telephone number for the BBC finance department as security. When he asked for two bottles of cava “and some fags” to be left outside his room, management became suspicious of the use of the word “fags” and investigated further.