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Showing posts from April, 2013

Stress is still lawyers’ biggest concern

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From Legal Futures 19/04/13: Three-quarters of lawyers in the UK and Ireland report being more stressed than they were five years ago but two-thirds are reluctant to report their concerns to employers, a survey has found. However, while seven out of ten said their work environment was stressful, almost half also described their workplace as friendly.I would be interested to know what proportion of responders worked in law firms versus in house.  Very interested indeed. Results from the latest survey by LawCare – the independent charity which helps lawyers with problems such as stress, depression and alcohol misuse [all lawyers, then] – which consulted around 1,000 lawyers of all stripes across the UK and Ireland, mirror the preliminary findings reported by Legal Futures last August. More than 57% of those who responded were English and Welsh solicitors. Almost 15% were solicitors in Scotland and more than 11% were Irish barristers.No, “there was an Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsm…

Parliamentary Privilege: Frivolous Personal Injury Claims

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Frivolous? Well, how else would you describe someone filing a claim for tripping over their umbrella, ripping their crotch bending over to plug in a computer or getting their glasses bent when they failed to open a door before trying to walk through it. Ah yes – stupid. That’s the word I was looking for. ;-) From the Telegraph 22/04/13: The House of Commons paid £95 to an employee who tripped on an umbrella and £90 to another who ripped their trousers as part of more than £40,000 handed out in compensation over five years. Between January 2008 and January 2013 employees have received a total of £44,609.49 in compensation, a Freedom of Information request has revealed. "Personal injury compensation" for "slips, trips and falls" accounts for £42,550 and the rest relates to property damage.You’ve gotta watch out for those slips and trips. Personally, I’d remove all stairs, cushion all doors and install high grip flooring throughout parliamentary premises. MPs have a p…

Dealing with Cold Callers

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I’m not at all sure that many businesses could give a flying frick about the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (oh, those catchy names just roll off the tongue so easily don’t they)? And registering your number on TPS – you might as well not bother, for all the good it’ll do. The upshot means we’re all stuck with one of those scourges of modern life - cold calls. From the Telegraph 02/04/13: Here are five of my favourite countermeasures, tried and tested against a variety of cold-callers, from double-glazing salesmen to people conducting lifestyle surveys from a call centre in Mumbai: 1. Be even friendlier than the cold-caller. This counter-intuitive ploy wrong foots the caller and enables you to occupy the moral high ground. Greet them effusively, say how nice it is to get their call, ask where they are calling from, what sort of day they have had, etc. Then, when you have softened them up, change tack. “Listen, mate, I hope you are not trying to sell me somet…

Good Deed Feed

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I generally take a butchers at the good deed feed in the Metro at some point on the train each morning during my commute to work. (It’s funny how a journey never gets any less painful the more times you do it.) Well, this morning, I saw a good deed unfold in right under my nose.  That’s pretty rare these days. Walking past the bus station on my plod into the office, I had to wait at the crossing while a couple of coaches pulled out onto the main road. Seconds later, I was amused to see a girl with a small suitcase dart across the pavement in front of me and into the road where a National Express coach was held up at a red light.  She ran to the coach door and began tapping earnestly at it, waving her ticket at the driver. Evidently, she had missed the coach by mere seconds and was desperate to get on – something vaguely akin to Keanu Reeves’ antics in the film Speed.  OK – that’s a slight exaggeration. The coach driver was having none of it, though.  Letting passengers on and off …

Does the UK suffer from a compensation culture?

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Guest PostHailed by many as a direct response to a growing compensation culture in the UK, the Jackson reforms introduced on the 1 of April brought in a number of new pieces of legislation intended to prevent Britain from becoming a “claim happy” nation. In some quarters it has been suggested that the reforms come too late or don’t go far enough to protect those unfortunate people who are targeted by “unmeritorious claims”, while figures such as Lord Dyson, the Master of the Rolls, have suggested that compensation culture is in fact a myth propagated by the media. What all concerned are keen to point out, however, is that these changes within the legal system are not intended to clamp down on genuine claims made by those badly affected by an accident. Personal injuries can be serious issues and those organisations built around helping claimants to push their cases through the small claims courts are wrong to be universally labelled as ambulance chasers. As specialists in road traffic…

Managing digital assets after death

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From the Telegraph 12/04/13: Google has launched a new service to help its users make an online will that dictates what happens to their data after they die - either permanently deleting it, or passing it on to loved ones as a digital inheritance.Inactive Account Manager lets users of all Google services choose "trusted contacts" who will have access to their data once their account has laid dormant for three, six or 12 months, depending on their preference.As a final warning before releasing the data, Google will send an email and text message to the user to make sure that they have passed on, and not merely left their accounts inactive.Alternatively, users can choose to have their data deleted permanently.Google product manager Andreas Tuerk said, in a blog post announcing the launch: "We hope that this new feature will enable you to plan your digital afterlife — in a way that protects your privacy and security — and make life easier for your loved ones after you’re g…

Can I Still Get Family Legal Aid?

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Guest PostFollowing the introduction of the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 there has been a lot of publicity and comment some of which could be misunderstood to indicate that legal aid will no longer be available in family cases from 1 April 2013. Whilst there have been significant changes to legal aid it still covers certain proceedings. These are:- Public family law cases regarding the protection of children including care proceedings, pre-proceedings advice. Private family law proceedings such as contact and residence disputes where there is evidence of domestic violence. Private law children cases where there is evidence of child abuse Foreign Child Abduction matters Representation of child parties in private family law cases Legal advice in support of mediation Domestic Violence Injunction Cases for Non Molestation and Occupation Orders Forced Marriage Protection Order cases It is very important to be aware that divorce, dissolution of civil partnersh…

Parents release poignant message from texting tragedy

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From the Huffington Post 11/04/13: The parents of a university student killed in a car crash as he typed a text have released his final message in a bid to warn other drivers against doing the same.

He was responding to a friend’s message and had typed: “Sounds good my man, seeya soon, ill tw” before he crashed. Heit’s mother Sharon released a statement via the police, which was published in the Greeley Tribune. “Please, vow to never, NEVER text and drive. In a split second you could ruin your whole future, injure or kill others, and tear a hole in the heart of everyone who loves you.”The number of people you spot behind the wheel texting or otherwise fiddling with their mobiles is staggering; the phrase ‘an accident waiting to happen’ has never been more apt. Of course, texting isn’t the only incredibly dangerous thing that people get up to whilst driving – as I blogged about previously. When you see the truly tragic results that can ensue, is sending that text really that urgent…

A Guide to Interest Rate Swaps Redress and Compensation

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Guest PostAs the scandal escalates over mis sold interest rate swaps more and more businesses are wondering if they have been mis sold this highly complex hedging product by their banks and if so, are they entitled to redress? Directors of SMEs are looking for a guide to interest rate swaps not so much to understand what they are, but rather how they can reclaim money they shouldn’t have paid. If you took out a commercial loan on or after 1 December, 2001, you indeed may have purchased some form of hedging product as a condition of the loan. Claiming redress will not be as easy as it should be, primarily because of the complexity of the product, but the place to begin is with a basic understanding of exactly what interest rate swaps (IRSs) are. A Brief Synopsis of Interest Rate SwapsFundamentally, interest rate swaps are sold alongside a loan so that the borrower can be protected against future rises in interest rates. It is a separate financial contract to the underlying loan in whi…

PC cops it over curb

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From the Huffington Post 31/03/13: A petrol station owner who phoned police when he thought he was being burgled is being sued by one of the attending officers because she tripped on a kerb. Steve Jones called police last August when the alarm protecting his garage forecourt went off around midnight. PC Kelly Jones, 33, answered the call during which she tripped on a six-inch kerb. The garage owner told the Mirror: "I thought nothing of it, other than she must have been a bit embarrassed – and I helped her up." The officer claims she injured her wrist and leg in the fall […] but was able to continue the search of the premises. PC Jones is now suing him for thousands of pounds for "unnecessary risk of injury" as she was not warned about the kerb and it was insufficiently lit.Quite right too. Curbs can be hazardous. In other news, one of Ms Jones’ colleagues is suing the local council, seeking damages for pain and suffering after they stubbed their toe on a step when…