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Showing posts from 2015

Back from the brink

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As Murray Walker might say: “I make no apologies for my absence… but I’m sorry I’ve not been here”. In case the world missed it – which, of course, it didn’t, as nobody reads blogs now – I’ve been away for a bit.

It wasn’t really a conscious decision.I just found myself busy with other things to do and afflicted with a serious disinterest in both law and blogging.That’s something of a handicap when it comes to producing content for a legal-themed blog. I’ve thought about returning before now and I’ve even had a flick through some of my old posts a couple of times. But despite doing this, I couldn’t quite bring myself to start blogging again.The mere thought of blogging just felt a bit, well, tired and old, frankly.I’ve only come back today to have a cathartic whinge.

Aside from all that, Blogger seems to have thrown a wobbly interacting with Windows Live Writer and the freshly-released Open Live Writer.Trying to post to Blogger using the web interface makes blogging even more of a ballach…

Latest Employment Tribunal statistics show drop in number of claims made

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Guest PostOn 10 September 2015 the Ministry of Justice published the latest set of quarterly Employment Tribunal statistics for April to June 2015. This report laid out statistics for the Employment Tribunal for this period relating to the number of claims made, the number of claims that were successful, and the amount of compensation that was awarded for claims.The number of claims madeThe report stated that there has been a continued trend of decline in the number of claims (both individual and multiple) made in the Employment Tribunal between 2012/13 and 2014/15, as follows:- 2012/13: an average of 52,000 new claims per quarter- 2013/14: an average of 26,500 new claims per quarter- April to June 2014/15: an average of 12,563 new claims per quarterWith regards to individual claims (claims made by one individual against one or more persons) the trend of claims has been more volatile:- October 2012: 5,000 claims made- June 2013: 4,000 claims made- July 2013: 6,500 claims made- Septemb…

Can a Private Investigator be an aid to the legal process?

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Guest Post
With the number of high profile court cases recently featuring journalists who used the services of Private Investigators you may be excused for thinking the investigators are a thoroughly disreputable lot. Case after case we heard the same story; the journalist had simply employed a detective to hack into people’s mobile phones and gather the gossip they needed for their stories. Given the recent negative publicity it would therefore be natural to find some reticence on the part of the legal profession to use Private Investigators for fear of falling foul of the law themselves. Of course this fear is unfounded and generations of solicitors have successfully used investigators to help them achieve the legal outcome they were looking for. We should be clear that the odd bad apple doesn’t spoil the bunch. So what should you look for when choosing a Private Detective? First you need to choose a reputable company. This may sound obvious but when you look at the proliferation of…

Can the gender pay gap give rise to a claim?

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Guest Post In July 2015 the Government launched an open consultation on the gender pay gap which currently sits at 19.1%. That means that for every £1 earned by a man, a woman will earn 81p. Even though this is the lowest differential ever recorded it still demonstrates that the gender pay gap in the UK still needs addressing. Ever since the Equal Pay Act was launched in 1976 it has been illegal for men and women to be paid differently for doing the same work; however this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen. This then raises the important question which is, given that this legislation has been in place for almost 40 years to prevent this type of discrimination at work, if it is still happening what sort of claims process will be available to individuals falling foul of this discrimination? The open consultation aims to task organisations with more than 250 employees to publish gender pay information. The CBI are pushing back on this stating that the current voluntary approach for co…

Important Principles of Publishing Law

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Guest Post
Although the basic principles of publishing law generally remain unchanged, the law that governs the publication of books, magazines, newspapers and – in particular - their digital equivalents is constantly evolving. This constant evolution is necessary now more than ever, due to the impact the internet has had on how material is distributed, and the increasing importance of digital copyright law. In today’s digital age, what is legal in one country may not be permitted in another, and this patchwork of very different sets of laws represents a real problem for authors and publishers throughout the world. Unsurprisingly, the countries of the world have attempted to regulate this by means of international treaties. There is now the International Court of Justice at The Hague (mainly referred to for war crimes), and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. However, these only operate in certain jurisdictions and their judgements are usually regional rather than global…

What Will Happen to EU Citizens in the UK in the Event of Brexit…?

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Guest Post The promised EU referendum, awarded the unfortunate moniker of ‘Brexit’ by the British press, is drawing nearer. Currently, there isn’t a confirmed date for the vote, but we do know that it will not be on 5th May 2016, the day when the public will vote on the devolution of the Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh Parliaments. David Cameron promised in the run up to the 2015 election that the referendum will take place before the end of 2017, and a recent BBC News article speculated about the pros and cons of potential dates between now and then. It’s certain that should the public vote in favour of leaving the EU there will be major changes. The debate rages on about whether or not these changes will have a positive or negative impact on the state of the nation. However, one unavoidable point that has not been widely discussed in the media is that EU nationals who have made their home in the UK will find their circumstances change overnight if Britain decides to abandon t…

An Easy Guide to Marriage and Relationship Breakdown

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Guest Post
So you have decided to separate. What are the essential legal things you need to know? The following has been provided by Selachii LLP and is intended to be a brief guide. Divorce: The BasicsIf you are married then you may wish to take divorce proceedings, although there are other options, such as entering into a separation agreement with your spouse.  There is only one ground for divorce: that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. However, you must prove irretrievable breakdown by showing one of five things: That your spouse has committed adultery (usually proved by them admitting it).That your spouse has behaved unreasonably.That your spouse has deserted you for a period of two years.That you and your spouse have been separated for two years and your spouse consents to the divorce.That you and your spouse have been separated for five years.Briefly, the procedure for a divorce is that one party will file a divorce petition with the court. The court will then send a …

Woman jailed for excessive ‘vocalising’ during sex

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From the Metro 01/06/15: Gemma Wale [or is that wail? ;-) ] 23, was ordered to serve two weeks behind bars for breaching an ASBO.A court heard how she ‘screamed and shouted’ at a level of noise which had offended neighbours during a ten minute romp at her house in Small Heath, Birmingham. The court heard Birmingham City Council took legal action after neighbour Ghazala Bibi, 40, complained about loud sex noises coming from her home. Mrs Bibi said in evidence: ‘Gemma started screaming and shouting whilst having sex, which woke us up. This lasted ten minutes.’ In a written judgement Judge Kelly said an anti-social behaviour order had barred Wale from making ‘loud sex noises’ at her home in Hob Moor Lane [which she had breached during a session of raucous hanky panky in the early hours of 29 January].Here, according to the Metro, is the love shack where Gemma Wale wailed like a trooper in breach of her ASBO. Looks romantic, doesn’t it?I suppose It would have been pointless for a police o…

Legal Grey Areas: where it helps to have a lawyer

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Guest Post
Most people don’t have a lawyer. Some people skate through life without ever getting involved, one way or another, with legal trouble. But these folks are actually in the minority. In reality, there are dozens of common events that draw normal, honest people into the courtroom. These things are unavoidable, and include car accidents, medical malpractice, and other regrettable events that make Oregon residents need an expert in Oregon law. Of course, not everybody is from Oregon, but I say this to point out that every legal scene is different. Different states have different laws, various ways they try and prosecute different offences. If something goes wrong in your life, you’ll need more than a simple Google search. A committed lawyer will be able to give you personalized advice and counsel, getting you the justice that you deserve, and fast. But sometimes, it’s hard to know whether you need a lawyer or not. Maybe an offense has taken place, or then again, maybe it’s not w…

The Purpose of Disability Benefits

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Guest Post
Disability benefits are set in motion to help people who suffer from unforeseen illnesses and injuries. A wide variety of situations may qualify a person to receive disability benefits. A worker who develops a severe illness or gets involved in an accident can qualify for disability. Many employers supply their employees with disability benefits as part of their benefits packages. The disability benefits cover a portion of the worker’s income until that person recovers from the illness and can return to work. The income portions vary depending on the insurance company. Usually the benefit falls in between 70 percent and 100 percent, and it may fluctuate over time.  Private Disability BenefitsSome consumers purchase private disability benefits because their employers do not offer them. Self-employed individuals may seek disability coverage, as well. Those disability benefits work the same way that other benefits work. The process of filing a claim is usually identical, and …

3 Kinds of People Who Should Already Have a Lawyer

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Guest Post
Nearly half of all human adults will go to court at some point in their lives. Most of these won’t have anticipated this eventuality, and will have to scramble to prepare themselves. As such, many will be under prepared, poorly represented, or stressed far more than is necessary when that day comes. For people like this, it would be much better if they had a plan of attack long before they knew that they were even going to court in the first place. It pays to have a relationship with a qualified attorney, even if you never use their services. That would be the ideal situation, actually, and you won’t pay anything never to employ your lawyer. But if you do need help in this way someday, you’ll be so glad that you already know who to call. A lawyer who knows you will be able to hit the ground running with your defence, or to prosecute another party in your favor. But if you’re getting a lawyer for the first time when things go bad, you’ll have to do lots of preliminary introdu…

Entrepreneurs and investors – the UK is open for business!

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Guest Post
The Chinese year of the Sheep began on the 19th February and Master Hans Cua, the youngest Feng Shui master in Asia, predicted that in the year of the Wooden Sheep businesses dealing with textile, fashion, paper, rubber and wood will grow well, while technology, electronic gadgets and supplies, computers, solar power, food, those thinking invention, and new-idea-regulating industries will be making a lot of money. The British economy has certainly got off to a good start. This week the Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced the UK’s economy grew by 2.6% last year, the fastest pace since 2007, coupled with a recent article reporting that 60% of small businesses say they expect profit growth this year. These figures now place the UK among the best performing of all the major economies in 2014. The economic resurgence is being further stimulated by Britain’s active support for non-EEA nationals to consider entrepreneurial and investment opportunities within the UK thr…

Broadchurch creator comes out fighting to defend second series

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I came to the Broadchurch party much later than most (in fact, only since earlier this year), but I’ve watched series one and two twice now. It’s one of the best things I’ve seen in a long time. For what it’s worth, I’m also giving Gracepoint a bash – the bizarre and spectacularly bad remake of Broadchurch, re-engineered to be spoon-fed to American audiences. From the uninspiring location, poor casting, and a complete lack of chemistry between any of the actors, it’s a very poor imitation. On top of all that, David Tennant’s laughably bad American accent - which slips more often than it stays - pretty much drives that final nail home. Seriously: just don’t bother. I bet Tennant wishes he hadn’t as well. 10-part mystery? The only mystery is why it was commissioned in the first place.
Now the dust has settled from series two of Broadchurch, its creator, Chris Chibnall, has come out in combative fashion to defend his baby from the tirade of indignation produced in response to certain aspe…

Top Five Ways to Guard Against Data Theft

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Guest Post
Businesses deal with sensitive data on a regular basis – and if this data falls into the wrong hands, it could severely compromise the reputation and security of a company and its clients. That’s why it’s important for all businesses, whether large or small, to protect their data and documentation properly. Your business can ensure its data security in a number of ways. Some simply require the changing of old habits, whilst some may require a cash outlay – but such an outlay is nothing compared to the disastrous consequences should your business suffer a data theft. Password Protection
Use password protection for all devices, including laptops and smartphones as well as your company’s networks and accounts. Encourage staff to create unique passwords for all online accounts, using combinations of upper-case and lower-case letters, numbers and other characters. Antivirus Software
Protect your computer from viruses, spyware and malware by installing reliable antivirus software.…

Death in the digital age: managing digital assets

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Sponsored Post
We all have scores of online accounts these days.  The value of the information associated with those accounts can be huge – both financially and in other, more nuanced ways.   Take, for instance, online storage services, to which years of photos or video footage (and the memories connected with that) can be uploaded. Or a blog with thousands of blog posts published over a period of years.  Until quite recently, this type of digital content hadn't been considered by those making wills, and even now it's the exception rather than the norm. I’ve blogged previously about some of the difficulties associated with digital assets when someone dies.  As more and more aspects of our lives occur online, or at least have an online element, remembering to include digital assets when drafting wills becomes ever more important. The Co-operative Funeralcare have published a report revealing that of the 94 per cent of UK adults who hold online accounts, 75 per cent of those hav…

Employment Law Tribunals vs The Small Business

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Guest Post
No company, big or small, is exempt from the potential threat of an employment law tribunal. But for the owners of smaller businesses the threat could affect their entire livelihood due to the financial consequences that may result. However, there are certain ways that a small company can lessen the chances of a tribunal loss; namely by being fully prepared for the tribunal long in advance of the day. The following are a few of the best ways to ensure that you're ready for all aspects of an employment law tribunal. Analyse every detail of the case
Having a wide knowledge of the employment law legislation you're facing is vital, as you need to supply your solicitor with as much information of the case as possible, so they can judge how to prepare their strategy most effectively. Make certain that all materials you need to support your case, such as documents and statements, are ready well in advance so you are best prepared for any line of questioning the prosecuti…

Law Actually is eight years old

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I know.  I know! I can barely believe it either.Go on, admit it: you didn’t think I’d still be here, did you?I’ve just spent the last ten minutes or so looking at my previous Law Actually birthday posts, and reminiscing.  What struck me is just how long eight years is, and how much the blawgosphere has evolved [read: withered and died] in that time.There’s no point pretending blogging is what it once was.  I think it’s still got it’s place in the world, but its present status alongside some of the more mainstream social media channels is pretty insignificant.Still, longevity must count for something.  While I preferred the first four years of blogging on Law Actually much more than I have these last four, I’m glad I’m still here, occupying this tiny little part of cyberspace.

Facebook now cited in a third of divorces

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Guest Post
The power and influence of social media in relationships has been highlighted by recent research, which has claimed that Facebook is now cited in one-third of all divorce cases. According to a report produced by Lake Legal, which involved the collation of figures from legal firms’ statistics, the popular social network is often relied upon by disgruntled partners looking to highlight their spouse’s unreasonable behaviour. All too often, Facebook provides evidence of new relationships and infidelity, while also helping husbands and wives to track their estranged partner’s movements. What’s more, the social networking powerhouse also records expenditure on luxurious items such as holidays and cars. A number of divorce cases revolve around social media users who have reconnected with old partners who they may not have spoken to in years, spelling bad news for existing relationships should temptation take hold. Now, solicitors are warning that social media actually provides a…

Video Links for Courts and the Legal Profession

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Guest Post
In the past few years, it has become increasingly acceptable for Judges to receive evidence and testimonies from witnesses in both criminal and civil cases. A video conference is often referred to as a video link within the legal profession. Here at Eyenetwork we’ve been assisting solicitors and barristers for many years, either providing public facilities for the witnesses overseas, or bridging service between the court and remote locations. Many courts have installed video conference equipment, but pre-2000 when it was not so common, we were involved in setting up a ground breaking videoconference which created a legal precedent. Mander Hadley & Co, a Coventry based legal practice specialising in personal injury claims decided to use Eyenetwork to help set up a temporary courtroom based in Birmingham, that was complete with judge, clerk and the necessary legal, administrative and recording personnel. The video conference equipment was used to connect with a number of…

Time’s up: judicial review claim for super-sewer dismissed

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From the London Evening Standard 22/01/15: A council was today accused of being “totally incompetent” after the legal challenge against London’s controversial super-sewer collapsed because it submitted court papers late. Southwark’s leader today sought to explain the cock-up by blaming “ambiguous” rules setting out deadlines for submitting papers.Don’t snigger.  However much you might want to. Lib Dem opposition leader at Southwark Anood Al-Samerai said: “We all trusted the council to represent our community in court. “Now the case for a judicial review has been thrown out all because the council couldn’t manage to submit its paperwork on time. The council explained it had been working to a time-frame which would have been acceptable had new reforms currently being discussed in Parliament been passed. But with the new rules yet to come into full force, the judge applied existing rules which deemed the council’s court papers to be late.On the face of it, this sounds unforgivable.…

It’s a hard knot life

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Guest Post
Japanese Knotweed has received some legislative attention recently, perhaps due to recent media interest in how it is affecting the value of properties. The new Anti-Social, Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 seeks to address the issue where homeowners do not tend to the issue of knotweed on their property. According to the legislation homeowners might fall foul of the Act where they do not act reasonably to control or prevent the growth of knotweed. Under the Act a Community Protection Notice can be issued by a local authority or the police, where the homeowner actions are a) ‘having a detrimental effect, of a continuing and persistent nature, on the quality of life of those in the locality’ and/or b) the homeowner acts ‘unreasonably’. Moreover, a failure to act also falls under conduct that is classed as ‘unreasonable’. The notice, therefore, now requires an individual to control or eradicate the knotweed on their property and breaching the notice without a reasonable…

Party Games: pin the invoice on the schoolchild

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From BBC News 19/01/15: A five-year-old was billed for failing to attend a friend's birthday party - resulting in threats of legal action. Alex Nash, from Cornwall, was invited to the party just before Christmas. An invoice for £15.95 was sent by his schoolfriend's mother Julie Lawrence, who said Alex's non-attendance left her out of pocket and his parents had her details to tell her he was not going. Alex's father Derek said he had been told he would be taken to the small claims court for refusing to pay. Alex's parents, from Torpoint, had accepted an invitation to the party at a dry ski slope in Plymouth, Devon, just before Christmas. However, they realised their son was double-booked and due to spend time with his grandparents, which he did.I suppose sending an invoice is one way of doing it. (But really – what was she thinking?) Putting the silliness of the situation to one side for a moment, could Mrs Lawrence make this claim stick? Let’s think about th…