Top 4 Tips For Making a Personal Injury Claim in the UK

Top 4 Tips For Making a Personal Injury Claim in the UK

Legal blog contribution from Emma Flood, Editor at new free online legal advice website Unlock the Law including 4 quick tips for making a personal injury claim.

Described in the Venables new legal developments directory as ‘a serious contender in the provision of free legal information for individuals’, new free online legal advice service Unlock The Law have created a new complete guide to making a personal injury claim in the UK. You can view the guide here.

Addressing nearly every question you could have about making a claim – including for specific injuries or circumstances, the guide also includes accompanying videos so that you can receive your legal advice in a way that’s simple and easy to understand.

Top 4 Quick Tips for Making a PI Claim

Having published this guide, we thought it would be useful for Charon QC’s law blog readers (particularly the non-lawyers) to have 4 of the top quick tips for making a claim in the UK (and any lawyers/barristers are welcome to comment below on any of the best advice they might have from their own experience):

  1. Keep a diary of your injuries – Keeping a diary of injuries and associated complaints can be greatly beneficial to making your claim. Whilst a doctor’s report will outline exactly what is wrong with you medically, it won’t detail every sleepless night, difficulty in carrying out daily tasks and any other small but significant details.
  1. Tell your doctor everything – Similarly, don’t think that any minor complaint from your injury is too small to tell your doctor. It could be that this small ongoing issue becomes very significant to your claim.
  1. Choose your solicitor carefully – Choosing a personal injury solicitor can be difficult and often people simply choose the first one they find on Google search. However it could be greatly beneficial to your claim to ensure you check the accreditations and specialisms of any solicitor you consider choosing (eg Law Society accreditation or APIL accreditation (click here to view). This is especially important where you have a serious injury that could require a specialist personal injury solicitor with a great deal of experience in dealing with your type of claim.
  1. Remember the time limit for making a claim – It is important you remember that there is a time limit for bringing a personal injury claim. In Scotland and England & Wales this is usually three years from the date of your accident. If you have developed a disease, the three-year period usually starts from the date on which you became aware of your illness. If you have not raised a claim in this time, you may be time barred from claiming compensation, so it’s important to determine this date as soon as possible – speak to a solicitor (preferably a specialist personal injury solicitor) so that you have plenty of time to prepare and raise your claim before it’s too late.

For further reading see Citizen’s Advice’s guides to claiming for personal injury in England & Wales here, in Scotland here or see Unlock The Law’s new Complete Guide to Making a Personal Injury Claim in the UK here. You can also follow Unlock The Law on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Law Review: A law firm is ‘named and shamed’ and other matters from the law blogs

Legal Futures reports: “A law firm ‘named and shamed’ today by the government for failing to pay the minimum wage has hit back strongly…..”

Conflict of Laws.net reports: Testing the Stress of the EU: EU Law After the Financial Crisis

David Allen Green reports on his Jack of Kent blog: MoJ refuses to disclose details of its commercial proposal to the Saudi state

Use of police Tasers on children rises 37% in a year
The Independent reports:  “David Blunkett asked for the review after Home Office figures revealed that 431 children were involved in police Taser incidents in 2013, an increase of 37 per cent on the previous year.The youngest person shot with the 50,000-volt stun gun was 14, research from BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast found, while police threatened to deploy the weapon on a boy as young as 11.
John Bolch at his Family Lore blog writes: Government must shoulder blame as 7 Grandparents a day seek court order to see grandchildren

David Allen Green reports on his Jack of Kent blog: MoJ refuses to disclose details of its commercial proposal to the Saudi state

Carl Gardner on his Head of Legal blog: Britain’s got it way its way on prisoners’ votes – so why withdraw from the ECHR?

And I thought that another look at John Flood’s post was in order: Relevance of Professionalism in a Post-Legal Services Act World – “I’ve always admired “Duke” (or Hunter S Thompson as he’s known in the mundane world). For anyone who could consume the amount of drugs he did and yet write as brilliantly as he could must be professional….”

From Panopticon: Quite like a whale
Peter Lockley writes: “As my colleague Robin Hopkins has warned, the decision of the Upper Tribunal in Fish Legal looks like a pretty big beast: sixty pages on whether water companies are public authorities for the purposes of the Environmental Information Regulations, applying the CJEU’s lengthy ruling on the points of principle (for which, see this post by Chris Knight).

(If you just need the quick answer: yes they are, by virtue of having ‘special powers’, but not by virtue of being under the control of a public body. For the detail, read on.)

UKSC blog: In the Supreme Court w/c 23 Feb 2015 – Hearings in the Supreme Court are now shown live on the Court’s website.

 

Law Review: A look at some law blogs…and a bit of news…

Former MP and practising barrister, Jerry Hayes, writes: “Just as I thought that the Daily Telegraph could sink no lower they splash a dodgy sting about cash for access. Now put out of your minds whether you think that MPs should have no outside interests and ignore what you might think of the policies of Jack Straw and Malcolm Rifkind when they were Foreign Secretary. There is only one simple question. ‘What have they done which is in breach of the Parliamentary rules’. The simple answer is nothing……”

Read more…

 

Clare Rodway – The Conversation blog – is always worth reading with her interviews: “Rosanna Chopra has enlightened me as to how little I know about women’s rights around the world. As a life-long feminist (and a proud mother of a teen feminist, who was the one who introduced me to Emma Watson’s He for She campaign) I really thought I knew better.

Meeting in Dubai over an outstandingly delicious meal in Emirates Towers, (the unlikely lamb and pomegranate dish is manna from heaven!) the subject of Dubai’s women in business came up as Rosanna and I discussed our backgrounds. On hearing that she had spent 4 years in Formula One before switching to law, I commented that her history of being a driven woman (excuse the pun) in a man’s world must have been a useful warm-up lap for working in Dubai. She is very quick to put me straight, speaking enthusiastically about how many more opportunities she has working in a Dubai law firm, compared to the UK……”

Read more…

Two former foreign secretaries have been suspended from their parliamentary parties after being secretly filmed apparently offering their services to a private company for cash.

Conservative Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Labour’s Jack Straw both say they have broken no rules.

Reporters for the Daily Telegraph and Channel 4’s Dispatches posed as staff of a fake Chinese firm.

The MPs have referred themselves to Parliament’s standards watchdog.

David Allen Green on his Jack of Kent blog writes: MoJ refuses to disclose details of its commercial proposal to the Saudi state

The below has been received from the Ministry of Justice. It is a refusal to disclose anything to do with the MoJ’s proposal to provide services on a commercial basis to the Saudi state.

Read more…

Carl Gardner on his Head of Legal blog: Britain’s got it way its way on prisoners’ votes – so why withdraw from the ECHR? (11 February 2015)

“In yesterday’s judgment on 1,015 “legacy” applications, the European Court of Human Rights ruled once again that the legislative bar on prisoners’ voting breaches article 3 of the first protocol to the European Convention. That result was predictable given the Court’s case law on votes for prisoners.

But more importantly, the Court awarded none of these successful applicants a penny in damages; and not a penny in costs, either. The Court has drawn a line under its dispute with the UK, and will do nothing further to raise the stakes….”

Read more…

Nearly Legal: Housing Law news and comment: Bedroom tax and sanctuary schemes – “A quick note to record that the judicial review of the bedroom tax regulations as being discriminatory on the basis that a ‘panic room’ equipped for domestic violence victims was classed as a ‘spare bedroom’ failed.

 

From Obiter J: Contributory negligence ~ Supreme Court decision

Here is an interesting case from Scotland.  The legal principles involved will be much the same for England and Wales.   

 The facts of the case arose 11 years ago – in 2004.  A collision took place on an “A” road near the junction of that road with a private road leading to a farm where the “pursuer” (claimant) – then aged 13 – lived with her family.  The “A” road had a 60 mph limit and was unlit.  It was about 40 minutes after sunset.

 The claimant had just got off the school bus which had parked on the opposite side of the “A” road to the private road to the farm.  The “respondent” (defendant) was driving home in the opposite direction and travelling at around 50 mph.  His car lights were on.  The pursuer walked behind the bus, got into the path of the respondent’s car and she suffered serious injuries.  The judge (the Lord Ordinary) held that the pursuer was mainly to blame though the driver was also negligent.  The Lord Ordinary decided that the pursuer was 90% responsible though, on an appeal, this was reduced to 70%.

Read more…

lucyreed23febPink Tape – A blog from The family Bar: Mum forced to write to childrens’ dad in prison

“Most of the tabloid press have reported extensively on this story of a mum who had her throat slit by her ex and who is said to face jail if she doesn’t write to him in prison. All of the reports I have seen identify the adults by name and give the general location of where the mother is or was living. Some of them identify the children by name, and some by photos. I find myself in the unusual position of linking to the Daily Mail coverage which is the only report I can find which does not identify the children by name or show their faces : “Mother who was tortured for seven hours and slashed across the throat in front of her sons by her ex-boyfriend is forced to write to him in prison and give him updates on his kids – or face jail herself”…”

Read more…

Panopticon: 11 KBW – Down the Rabbit Hole – Late Reliance under FOIA

“Says the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, “Oh my furry whiskers, I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!” Although the application of FOIA may sometimes feel like Wonderland, the feeling it induces is normally more akin to turning up unexpectedly at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party (although attributing FTT judicial figures to the characters of the Mad Hatter and the Dormouse is beyond me). But one thing that has, since Birkett v DEFRA [2011] EWCA Civ 1606, not generally proved very controversial is the question of late reliance on exemptions; the White Rabbit need have little fear. Birkett made clear that late (usually after the DN and in the course of litigation before the FTT) reliance on substantive exemptions is permissible, subject to case management powers, under the EIR. The unappealed equivalent decision under FOIA, Information Commissioner v Home Office[2011] UKUT 17 (AAC), has generally been assumed to be correct.

However, there is a generous ‘but’ involved, about which lawyers are second only to Sir Mixlot in their appreciation. Can one rely late upon an exemption in Part I of FOIA?

Read more…

Adam Wagner on the UK Human Rights blog – Help me find the 50 human rights cases absolutely everyone needs to know about

“Followers of the blog will know I am developing a new initiative, the Human Rights Information Project (HRIP). The aim is to radically rethink the way we communicate about human rights.

I need some help from you. I want to crowd-source data from readers of this blog about the 50 human rights cases absolutely everyone needs to know about. All contributors  will be attributed on the HRIP site and I will publish the text of the best nominations.

This data is going to be a central the project so I would really appreciate you taking the time to help out.

Here are the criteria:

And finally…this from @johnthelutheran with room to think, to breathe…

The late queen mother, being driven in a Rolls-Royce through a stricken district of Manchester, England, said as she winced at the view, ‘I see no point at all in being poor.’ The Duke of St. Albans once told an interviewer that an ancestor of his had lost about 50 million pounds in a foolish speculation in South African goldfields, adding after a pause, ‘That was a lot of money in those days.’ The Duke of Devonshire, having been criticized in the London Times, announced in an annoyed and plaintive tone that he would no longer have the newspaper ‘in any of my houses.’

Christopher Hitchens on “tumbril remarks”: “an unguarded comment by an uncontrollably rich person, of such crass insensitivity that it makes the workers and peasants think of lampposts and guillotines.”

Via Nick Cohen.

Rive Gauche: It is Friday and there is a bit of ‘Law’ about…

advocacy20febBar in cyber war with itself over bigwig support for Global Law Summit
Legal Cheek reports: “The internet blazes with charge and counter-charge as criminal bar chief takes repeated hits for agreeing to speak at pilloried event.

“England’s barristers kicked off an internecine cyber war today as clamour rose for the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) chief to withdraw from next week’s controversial and jinxed Magna Carta celebrations.

CBA chairman Tony Cross QC of Manchester’s Lincoln House Chambers, is scheduled to speak at the Global Law Summit, which has been lambasted by legal aid lawyers for arguably focusing too heavily on commercial law.

Critics claim Cross’s high-profile attendance will lend the summit a veneer of rule-of-law credibility, when in reality the event is little more than an extended networking for City lawyers and a photo-opportunity for Justice Secretary Chris Grayling…..”

Read the rest

 

cameronmorph

 

I was not able to resist the above… back later….

 

Paying The Price of Truth: The Persecution of NHS Whistleblowers

Paying The Price of Truth: The Persecution of NHS Whistleblowers

A report published earlier this month has revealed the shocking extent to which NHS  whistleblowers have been victimised for reporting their concerns.

The report entitled Freedom to Speak Up, published by Sir Robert Francis, includes the direct testimony of 612 NHS staff, as well as a further 19,000 who completed an online survey. 

Detailed revelations of how employees face intimidation in both their personal and professional lives is detailed, as are threats of counter-allegations and alienation from peers within the NHS.

Such harassment at work has created a climate of anxiety for staff working in every area of the NHS. The tactics used to discourage them are described as acts of ‘fear, bullying and ostracisation’.

Negative effects of whistleblowing

There were plenty of actual cases in which employee lives had been ruined by their decsion to speak out. In particularly bad cases, employees’ health had suffered, with some staff members contemplating suicide.

The result of such intimidation affects the welfare of patients too. The report explains: “This lack of confidence about the consequences of raising concerns has implications for patient safety”.

Although the report praises the help some organisations have provided by encouraging staff to voice their concerns, it refers to such instances as “far from common”.

Katherine Murphy from the Patients Association condemned the lack of support, stating “complaints are like gold dust – they should be welcomed, they are telling you something is not right”.

Sir Francis, who also led the public inquiry into the scandal at Stafford Hospital, says employee concerns should be “welcomed and celebrated”. He has deuced from his report that a new national officer is needed to protect those affected by whistleblower cases, which could potentially be known as a ‘Freedom to Speak Up Guardian’.

Changes to be made

The government has agreed to act on all suggestions listed in the report, and will review how best to incorporate them into UK legislation. This will include a new employment law that protects whistleblowers from discrimination should they be interviewed for further jobs in the NHS and other professions.   

Historic whistleblowing cases will also be reviewed to assess whether a former employee was unfairly condemned. This could result in financial reparations, or even re-employment for those affected.

NHS whistleblower Dr Kim Holt has expressed his admiration for the new plans: “I am really pleased that a suggestion has been made that historic whistleblower cases are looked at and practical ways found of providing redress for them”

Some of the key changes that the Freedom to Speak Up report contained include:

  • Professional assistance for all whistleblowers in the form of a “Freedom to Speak Up Guardian”;
  • The assistance of an independent officer to assist these guardians in particularly difficult cases;
  • The introduction of a support scheme to help staff who have been forced out of work for speaking up;
  • New steps to be taken to ensure all concerns are heard and seriously investigated.

Do you think these changes will be enough to protect NHS whistleblowers?

Let us know your thoughts.

Top 4 Tips For Making a Personal Injury Claim in the UK

Top 4 Tips For Making a Personal Injury Claim in the UK

Legal blog contribution from Emma Flood, Editor at new free online legal advice website Unlock the Law including 4 quick tips for making a personal injury claim.

Described in the Venables new legal developments directory as ‘a serious contender in the provision of free legal information for individuals’, new free online legal advice service Unlock The Law have created a new complete guide to making a personal injury claim in the UK. You can view the guide here.

Addressing nearly every question you could have about making a claim – including for specific injuries or circumstances, the guide also includes accompanying videos so that you can receive your legal advice in a way that’s simple and easy to understand.

Top 4 Quick Tips for Making a PI Claim

Having published this guide, we thought it would be useful for Charon QC’s law blog readers (particularly the non-lawyers) to have 4 of the top quick tips for making a claim in the UK (and any lawyers/barristers are welcome to comment below on any of the best advice they might have from their own experience):

  1. Keep a diary of your injuries – Keeping a diary of injuries and associated complaints can be greatly beneficial to making your claim. Whilst a doctor’s report will outline exactly what is wrong with you medically, it won’t detail every sleepless night, difficulty in carrying out daily tasks and any other small but significant details.
  2. Tell your doctor everything – Similarly, don’t think that any minor complaint from your injury is too small to tell your doctor. It could be that this small ongoing issue becomes very significant to your claim.
  3. Choose your solicitor carefully – Choosing a personal injury solicitor can be difficult and often people simply choose the first one they find on Google search. However it could be greatly beneficial to your claim to ensure you check the accreditations and specialisms of any solicitor you consider choosing (eg Law Society accreditation or APIL accreditation (click here to view). This is especially important where you have a serious injury that could require a specialist personal injury solicitor with a great deal of experience in dealing with your type of claim.
  4. Remember the time limit for making a claim – It is important you remember that there is a time limit for bringing a personal injury claim. In Scotland and England & Wales this is usually three years from the date of your accident. If you have developed a disease, the three-year period usually starts from the date on which you became aware of your illness. If you have not raised a claim in this time, you may be time barred from claiming compensation, so it’s important to determine this date as soon as possible – speak to a solicitor (preferably a specialist personal injury solicitor) so that you have plenty of time to prepare and raise your claim before it’s too late.

For further reading see Citizen’s Advice’s guides to claiming for personal injury in England & Wales here, in Scotland here or see Unlock The Law’s new Complete Guide to Making a Personal Injury Claim in the UK here. You can also follow Unlock The Law on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Chris Grayling insists…..his word is law, of course.

This is Local London reports: “Chris Grayling has insisted he has fulfilled his pledge to repay the profit from his London flat following the Parliamentary expenses scandal, despite a claim that his office will not any provide evidence of this.

Epsom and Ewell’s Conservative MP since 2001, Mr Grayling came under fire in 2009 during the parliamentary expenses scandal for claiming taxpayers’ money for a flat in Westminster, even though his constituency home in Ashtead is less than 17 miles from the House of Commons…..”

 ThisislocalLondon link

 

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Guest Post: 10 Things Every New Business Owner Needs To Know

10 Things Every New Business Owner Needs To Know

Running a business is no easy feat. You have to always be on your feet and always sniffing out the best ways to keep your business afloat. Whether you’re starting small or handling an existing big business, you should always have the right information that can drive you to do things properly without letting your business suffer. Here are some of the things that every business owner should know before starting their own business.

The customer is always right (even when they’re not)

You’ve heard this many times before, but as the rightful mantra of all businesses, you should always treat your customers as king. Customers are the ones who are making the purchase, therefore you should be able to find ways on how to ensure that they continue to do business with you. Even when your customers aren’t right, always be on their side so they can stay by yours.

Make the experience better

Something as simple as smiling when dealing with your customers can definitely drive more interest to your business. Your goal should be to provide a better experience for your clients. Giving them the right experience can help you make your business even better.

Follow what they buy

It’s not enough that you have a product that your customer needs, you should also have a good pulse on the products that they are looking for. Keep tabs on what your customers buy and always make sure to keep those items in stock. Following what your customers buy can help you build a stronger profit for your business.

Copy a business plan

Your business plan doesn’t have to be original. You can research on the most successful business plans out there and just utilize one that would be suitable for the type of business that you’re running. Don’t be afraid to copy from other businesses. The reason why they’re successful is because of the good business plan that they’ve used. Be sure to always tweak the plan according to the specifics of your business.

Know your money

Always follow the money. Keeping an eagle eye on the ins and outs of your money will give you a better perspective about how your business is doing. Although it’s fun to take risks, be sure to make calculated risks to avoid the derailment of your business. Having a trusted accountant working for you can also help you manage your finances more effectively.

Location is important

Having a definite scope for your business helps. It’s important to tweak your business depending on your location and make sure that it suits the local taste of those around you. Make yourself more visible to your customers and make sure that your business is accessible to them.

Keep your culture

A good company culture can drive customers directly to you. Make sure to highlight what you stand for, whether it’s environmental sustainability or creating helpful innovations, and spread your ideologies through your products and services.

Plan for the worst

Life can send you a series of unexpected curveballs, so it’s important to always be prepared for the worst that could happen in your business. Remember that prevention is better than cure and you should have the necessary steps that can help you salvage your business if you are facing an obstacle.

Pamper your employees

Make sure that your employees are happy. Your company’s success relies on the ability of your employees to do the work properly. Pampering them by simply praising them or giving them the right benefits can help them excel better at what they do.

Handle legal matters

No matter what type of business you’re handling, it’s important to be prepared for legal matters. You can hire a specialist like Barry LaBov to handle any lawsuit that your company might face. Make sure to work with a reputable legal team to help clear out any legal problems that you might face in the future.

Law Review: A most enjoyable blog to read

Being a law blogger after a long career teaching at BPP Law School (and assisting with the running of it as Chief Executive back in the day) I enjoy following law blogs.  I learn much from them.

Here is another blog I like – LegalChap -  by Solicitor Michael Williamson who practices at Williamsons Solicitors in Somerset

A recent blog post by Michael Williamson began…“My blog is littered with tales of inefficiency and incompetence within the Court Service and government offices.[1]   My colleagues in the litigation industry won’t be surprised to know that we don’t catalogue every event. We haven’t the time!…”

What a marvellous opening to a blog post…

Do have a look – well worth your time.

 

Guest Post: How to use a video link for a court case

How to use a video link for a court case

Since 1999 video conferencing – more commonly referred to as a video link in the legal profession – has become an increasingly common method for courts in England and Wales to receive evidence for trials and court hearings. Conducting court proceedings via Video link has many advantages and as a result many courts in England and Wales have installed videoconference systems within the  courts. This enables witnesses and specialists to give evidence from remote locations providing numerous benefits to all parties involved.

How does it work?

The Judge must grant permission for a witness to give evidence via video link. Once all the details (date, start time, duration) are set, to connect the witness either through the use of video conference facilities which can be treated as an extension of the courtroom. If the witness is in a remote location or unable to travel to a facility, then as an alternative solution, they can be connected to the court from their own personal device, such as a laptop or tablet. Wherever possible a test is made prior to the date of the hearing, to ensure a high quality connection for the hearing.

The witness does not require any technical knowledge, they only need to be present and focus on their role in the hearing.

Benefits

Using video conferencing in the legal profession has numerous benefits. It is socially and financially practical. Many chambers have their own equipment and can use video conferencing for meetings with clients, or taking pre-trial statements. The main advantages can be recognized as:

-              Increasing productivity

-              Decreasing travel time

-              Minimizing or eliminating travel costs and expenses

With respect to the court situation, connecting a witness remotely can also benefit their ability to give evidence. For some witnesses, travelling to the court and testifying can be a stressful experience, so giving evidence via video link can help to greatly reduce this, resulting in more relaxed witness and subsequently a better testimony.

Connecting with courts

In most cases, connections to courts are made via a bridging service. The Bridging service will ensure all sites are successfully connected and will also monitor the live link, ensuring a smooth connection and providing technical support to resolve any issues that may occur.

Connections to the court are made via ISDN technology and are fairly straightforward, but it is essential to establish whether or not the link must be made via Vodafone Involve. If connections to the court are serviced by Vodafone Involve, you will be required to complete their booking form to ensure the link is made to the court. If the connection can be made without Vodafone Involve, then a bridging service will need to be booked via Eyenetwork who will assist you with the entire process.

In some cases a bridging service may not be required to establish the link as the parties can connect directly, however it is strongly advised that all connections are bridged as this will provide a completely secure link. In addition, the bridging service provides a more reliable and cost effective solution to connecting the call.

Below are some facts regarding video links and the most frequently asked questions explained.

Why do I need a bridging service?

There are two types of videoconference connection technologies: IP and ISDN.  The majority of courts in England and Wales use ISDN technology, which is incompatible with IP. Most public facilities booked for witnesses use IP technology. If this is the case, a bridging service must be used to convert the network data to establish a link to an IP system.

In some instances, when a public facility also uses ISDN technology, an ISDN link can be made directly to the witness at the public facility. However to maximise the chances of having a successful video link, it is highly recommended that a bridging service is used to make the connection as this will ensure you have technical support throughout the link. Bridging services are also used to reduce network charges; ISDN connections can be expensive and a bridging service will offer more competitive connection rates.

The bridging service establishes the video link securely, from one centralised location. If any issues occur during the video link, the bridging service operator can be contacted who will then troubleshoot with each site and resolve the problem. This is particularly advantageous when there is no on site technician at the court.

Who is Vodafone Involve?

Some courts have their video links serviced by Vodafone Involve. If this is the case then you will also need to liaise with them to arrange the video link. Eyenetwork has a close relationship with Vodafone Involve, so it is advisable to contact Eyenetwork if you have any video link requests or queries and they will guide you through the entire process.

Once the hearing date has been confirmed and the reservation has been booked, the videoconferencing team will contact all sites involved in order to coordinate a test call, which is usually conducted 24-48 hours before the date of the hearing.

Who is Eyenetwork?

Eyenetwork is a video conference service provider aiding the legal profession since 2000 by:

-      Linking witnesses to court from remote locations

-      Creating virtual courts which enable defendants to be trialled remotely

-      Connecting counsel interviews or conferences before trial

-      Help experts provide evidence or give expert advice at court

-      Arrange meetings between counsel, administrative and appeal hearings

Eyenetwork connects to courts all over the UK on a daily basis and has an experienced client oriented team who aim to make the bridging process simple and straightforward for our customers. With the help of our bridging service we connect to courts, facilities and laptop participants all over the world and ensure that their video conferencing experience is positive and memorable. The Bridging team will advise how to proceed with booking a video link, explain the process and involvement of Vodafone, and answer any other questions that one might have regarding bridging and court links.

Author
Lisa Honan, Managing Director

Eyenetwork

www.eyenetwork.com

Law Review: Williamsons – The Law Firm

Williamsons
Michael Williamson

Williamsons is fundamentally a litigation firm with a commercial bias but in recent years we’ve expanded our commercial property, wills, probate and similar services (I’ve always disliked the term “private client”) and corporate commercial work.

From the perspective of the high street, where we are situated in this charming Somerset town, it’s perhaps easier to define us by what we don’t do.  Primarily that would be crime, family and (with a few exceptions) residential property work.

As a mainly claimant litigator, I find it ironic that most of my own work areas are now under attack.  It’s not just the competition – they’ve always been there – but the government with its curbs on costs recovery, massive hikes in court fees and the starving of administrative resources. Happily, the freedom I have in managing and steering this business has enabled us to adapt – hopefully to survive. 

Our mission is a fairly simple one.  We strive for excellence in technical performance and in the manner of delivery.  However unwanted the client’s necessary interface with the legal process may be, we’ll try to make it not just bearable but as pleasurable as possible.

The theory is that as well as making others happy, we’ll enjoy what we’re doing and perhaps earn a few quid from it to pay the bills. So……how did we get here? 

A little over 30 years ago I climbed off a train at Crewkerne station, headed for an interview that I hoped would secure me articles of clerkship (which in those days was the rather quaint title for what we now call “training contract”).

It was a hot and sunny Thursday afternoon, the first in September.  I had concluded some while earlier that travelling via London and enjoying a night out on the Town with my best friend perhaps hadn’t been the smartest move on the eve of this big day. My three-piece wool suit, tie and inexplicably heavy grip bag only served to confirm that view.

I’d made the simple error of assuming that Crewkerne train station was in Crewkerne. As the train rumbled off in the direction of Exeter, there was no immediate sign of life.  Only the tumbleweed was missing.

At the foot of the road bridge a couple hundred yards from the station things were more lively.  Leaning against the fence at the side of the road was an old boy watching the occasional car pass by.  I politely interrupted to ask directions.  Pointing to his right he told me, “be that way – and keep walking”.

So I did, with the bright sun beating down on me, my wool suit, my grip bag and faint but enduring headache.

Twenty minutes or so later I arrived at the top of the main street and paused to take in the sight that greeted me.  It was fair week, as it had been in hundreds of years past and still is today, and this attractive little country town was packed with stalls and rides.

I confess to having had some misgivings as I threaded my way through to the solicitors’ office at the other end to deliver my excuses for late arrival.  I remember fondly the interview that followed – at times Pythonesque – but that’s another story.  Within an hour I was blinking in the sunshine again, beginning my trek back to Lancashire.

Three and a half weeks later, having found digs and transported all my most precious personal possessions halfway down the country, I’d be walking back through the same door to begin an association that lasted fourteen years.

Clarke Willmott (& Clarke) had a provincial empire of fifteen offices, including Crewkerne, at the time I climbed aboard.  The plan to close or dispose of the outposts and begin the transformation into a regional firm was under way before I joined the equity in 1991 but seven years later a majority of my forty partners decided that it was time for the curtain to come down on Crewkerne.

Family and lifestyle ambitions motivated three of us to undertake the partnership equivalent of an MBO and there followed eleven successful years of The Stokes Partnership in the same location.  We recruited, we grew, it was good.

CWC was a big solid firm with a reputation for technical excellence and, quite simply, winning.  For me it was also my academy of the practical and political skills of law firm management. But with forty partners, scheduled to meet four times a year yet always with a handful unavoidably missing and no modern executive structure, manoeuvring this mighty vessel was not a quick and simple task.

Three, subsequently four, at my last firm was on the face of it a more manageable number but still things didn’t happen quickly enough for me.  Sometimes they didn’t happen in the way I wanted them to.  Other times they didn’t happen at all.

It dawned on me that the one thing I needed was autonomy and after a long period of deliberation I summoned the courage to approach my partners.  “Guys”, I said “I’ve had an idea.  Can we sit down and talk about it without killing each other?”

We did and a little over five years ago now I moved from one corner of the town square to the diagonally opposite corner along with a handful of mad people who said that they wanted to come with me.  Williamsons launched on 1 December 2009 (my 19th wedding anniversary).

Nowadays, partnership – or rather board – meetings are comparatively simple affairs.  Most of the time it’s one long meeting that travels from place to place, occasionally interrupted by sleep and a few other activities.  Where key operational decisions are required, the director is joined by practice manager.  Invariably clear decisions are made and then it’s just a matter of timescales and implementation.

“So that’s decided then.  When shall we do it?  I tell you what – let’s do it right now.”

That’s priceless.

Occasionally the shareholder reflects on how the director is getting on.  So far he has always concluded that his director is doing OK and that’s probably because – above all – he’s happy.

Michael Williamson is founder and owner of Somerset firm of Williamsons and author of the Legalchap blog.