Rive Gauche: Mr Andrew Mitchell MP will have a huge bill to pay…?

The BBC has just reported that Mr Andrew Mitchell loses in the High Court.  No doubt..others will write on this.

Mitchell called PCs plebs, judge says

 

One can always rely on Twitter for amusing tweets in time of  ‘need’…

You’re a sweaty, stupid little git – Mellor’s four-letter rant at cabbie: Ex-minister shamed after taxi driver tapes torrent of abuse on way home from Palace

  • Former cabinet member said: ‘Shut the f*** up. Smart-arsed little b******’
  • Cabbie said Mellor made him feel like ‘something he’d found on the bottom of his shoe’
  • Taxi drivers are now threatening to refuse to pick up Mr Mellor, said union

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2849615/You-sweaty-stupid-little-git-Mellor-s-four-letter-rant-cabbie-Ex-minister-shamed-taxi-driver-tapes-torrent-abuse-way-home-Palace.html#ixzz3KKzbwmhl

Guest Post: The Responsibilities of Being a Deputy

The loss of mental capacity is a scary time for any person going through the process, including those around them, with most M worries reflecting the stresses of day-to-day life and handling money. A Court of Protection Deputyship may be able to help a little with this.

What is a Court of Protection Deputyship?

The Court of Protection has the power to appoint a Deputy on behalf of a person who no longer has the mental capacity to make important decisions for themselves. A Deputy is given the responsibility of making decisions for ‘Ps’, as the court calls them, for an indefinite period.

A Deputyship is often confused with a Lasting Power of Attorney. This is however, very different, as the Power of Attorney is assigned while a P still has the mental capacity to solely make the decision. A Deputyship however, is an appointment on application once this is no longer possible. This may be due to a serious brain injury, illness or dementia, for example.

There are two main types of a Deputy:

  1. Property and financial affairs Deputy – someone who is required to pay bills, organise bank accounts, pensions and so on.
  2. Personal welfare Deputy – responsible for medical treatment and day-to-day care

Each person may be appointed 2 or more deputies if need be.

What Responsibilities Will a Deputy Have?

Becoming a Deputy is a huge responsibility, and there is quite a lot of paperwork that comes with the position. Depending on the type of deputyship, they will be expected to:

  • Complete annual reports
  • Work with the Office of the Public Guardian
  • Deal with benefit entitlements
  • Maintain bank and savings accounts
  • Complete Tax Returns
  • Safeguard, or sell property where required
  • Maintain any owned businesses
  • Pay any debts
  • Pay for any required care

A Deputy has a lot of powers, but there are strict conditions under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, and a Code of Practice that must be adhered to.

How to Apply for Deputyship

The first step in applying for a deputyship is to check you meet the requirements. In order to be deemed appropriate, a person must be aged 18 or over, and be a close relative or friend.

To become a property and affairs deputy the court will also check that you have the skills to make financial decisions. And if you want to become a personal welfare deputy you will require permission to apply.

In order to gain permission from the Court of Protection you will need to fill in a permission form, an application form and get an assessment of capacity form from the person’s doctor.

The final step is to send off the application forms and pay the fees. Each application costs £400, so it is important to ensure you have the relevant funds beforehand. 

Are you considering applying for a property and financial affairs, or personal welfare, deputyship? Then you may want to speak to a solicitor first to discuss your options. Legal advice is always advisable when making such a big decision.

Author biography

Are you a relative or friend considering applying for a Deputyship? JMD Law’s Nigel Jones is one of only four professional Deputies in Wales appointed to the approved Panel of the Court of Protection, and therefore JMD Law is the perfect solicitors firm to help guide you through the process. Call JMD Law on 02920 456780.

Rive Gauche: A painting of me… not “Charon”

This is a painting of me by my brother Stewart. I have a walking stick because of a spinal injury sustained some time ago when I tripped on a bath mat and fell backwards into the bath cracking my spine. The Baobab tree reflects my early life – many years ago – when I spent a year working in Zambia after school before going to university.  I have no idea what the lizard signifies.  I did see a fair number of lizards – but I also came across a fair few nasty snakes and wild animals when I worked in the bush doing geological work for Zamanglo Exploration, a subsidiary of Anglo-American Corporation.  (I thought it might be an idea to become a geologist and completed a year of Geology before changing to read law. Law was far more to my taste – although I did come across a few ‘human snakes’ in my time, fortunately well and truly outnumbered by some marvellous people!)  I asked Stewart to give me yellow glasses because I have just purchased some yellow glasses.

Stewart does take commissions – so if you are interested in having your portrait painted do, please, get in touch. My email is at the top on the right hand side of the blogroll.

Well..there we are…

 

Rive Gauche: A few F.E. Smith quotes to brighten the day…

  English law has thrown up some interesting characters over time.  One of my favourites – for his well known quotations – is  F. E. Smith, a     conservative politician who served as Lord Chancellor

The Rt Hon. Frederick Edwin Smith, 1st Earl of Birkenhead, GCSI, PC, KC, best known to history as F. E. Smith, was a British    Conservative statesman and lawyer of the early 20th century. He was a skilled orator, noted for his staunch opposition to Irish      nationalism, his wit, pugnacious views, and hard living and drinking.

 A few of his more pugnacious quotes:

“It would be possible to say without exaggeration that the miners’ leaders were the stupidest men in England if we had not frequent  occasion to meet the owners.”

“Judge: You are extremely offensive, young man!
Smith: As a matter of fact we both are; and the only difference between us is that I am trying to be, and you can’t help it.”

“Judge: What do you suppose I am on the bench for?
Smith: It is not for me, Your Honour, to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence.”

“Judge: I’ve listened to you for an hour and I’m none wiser.
Smith: None the wiser, perhaps, my lord but certainly better informed.

“Churchill has spent the best years of his life preparing impromptu remarks.”

Well…there we are.  They don’t make them like that these days.  Pity.

Guest Post: Holiday Pay to Include Overtime – Substantial Increased Costs for Employment

Holiday Pay to Include Overtime – Substantial Increased Costs for Employment

In a landmark decision this month, the Employment Appeal Tribunal held that employees who work overtime will now be entitled to claim additional holiday pay. The tribunal found that all elements of a worker’s normal remuneration must be considered when calculating holiday pay. The tribunal has sought to bring UK law in line with the European Working Time Directive , which seeks to ensure that workers are not forced to work rather than take holiday i.e. they do not lose out on earnings while they take their holiday.

Prior to the decision, most employers calculated holiday pay entitlements based on an employee’s basic pay and did not take into account additional payments for overtime.  The result was that employees received considerably less pay when on holiday than they would whilst working. 

While the decision limits entitlements to claim any retrospective holiday pay to a maximum of three months, employers will no doubt be extremely concerned that payroll costs will escalate significantly. Government figures suggest that approximately one in six of the 30 plus million employees in this country currently get paid overtime will be affected by these new regulations, and employers who rely heavily on employees working overtime will certainly have to consider re-evaluating their business structure.

It is feared that holiday claims of this kind might be backdated by up to six years, but an appeal by the employees has yet to be brought to claim.

No doubt it will take sometime for the true financial effects to filter through, however the tribunal has made it clear that workers should be entitled to holiday pay based on their actual income. Although the decision only dealt with overtime, there is likely to be future decisions effecting commission payments. 

If you are an employer or employee and feel you may be affected by these changes, please contact our expert employment team on 0151 666 9090 and we would be delighted to assist.

Contact: Percy Hughes & Roberts

Dedicated Employment area: 

http://www.phrsolicitors.co.uk/employment-law/

Lights… Camera… Courtroom

Lights… Camera… Courtroom

This time last year, cameras were allowed into the Court of Appeal and the High Court for the first time. More recently, the trial of Oscar Pistorius, the Paralympic athlete who was sentenced to five years in prison for the culpable homicide of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, has brought the issue of cameras in court back into the spotlight.

The televised Pistorius trial opened-up the South African legal system to the world. In a case that was fraught with emotion, those who watched from the comfort of their own homes had the opportunity to judge the case for themselves, without the bias that can sometimes be generated by media scrutiny. The media circus surrounding the case was expected, but was nonetheless a spectacle that would have worsened an already unimaginably distressing situation for the family and friends of those involved in the case.

Press attention can often detract from the real matters at hand, but in this case media reports were arguably enhanced by the accuracy of reports that can only come with a televised trial. Furthermore, while many may have been surprised at the sentence eventually handed down to Pistorius, there could be no doubts about the meticulous way in which Judge Thokozile Masipa analysed the evidence presented to her as we watched her lengthy delivery of the judgment. That, and her respected authority over proceedings, can leave few questions in the public’s mind over the fairness of the trial, even if they disagree with the sentence. It is debatable whether the public’s perception of the judge and the conduct of the trial would be the same had they not had the option to watch it themselves.

In the UK, senior judges remain divided over having cameras in court. Last week, however, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, voiced her support for televising criminal trials. If we want to demystify and open up our legal system to all, then it is surely only logical that we televise criminal trials over here, as already takes place with Court of Appeal and Supreme Court cases.

As specialist litigation PR consultants, Byfield Consultancy work hard to make sure that the media spotlight doesn’t focus too heavily on just one aspect of a case. Having cameras in court opens up the debate: the public will be able to inform what they read in the papers from what they have seen played out in the courtroom, and form a more balanced view. Thorough media training for judges, so that they learn to avoid technical jargon and deliver judgment in a clear and coherent manner, will help dispel the perception that the judiciary is out of touch with ordinary people and give society a better understanding and appreciation of our world renowned legal system.

Harriet O’Reilly is a Senior Account Executive at Byfield Consultancy, a communications consultancy specialising in Legal PR, Litigation PR and Reputation Management.

Guest Post: Legal Advice on Providing for Disabled Family Members in Your Will

Legal Advice on Providing for Disabled Family Members in Your Will

When thinking about making a will, parents are often most concerned about providing for their children or other dependants if they are to pass away. This concern becomes much greater when the beneficiary has reduced capacity or another kind of disability. This post addresses some of the major concerns in connection with leaving to a disabled beneficiary and how this is best approached.

The following advice comes from Wilson Fish, probate, wills, and executory solicitors based in Scotland.

Do I need to make a will?

If you have a family member with reduced capacity or some other kind of disability it is very important that you make a will.

If you pass away without making a will, your estate will be distributed according to standard rules. If your estate is distributed under these standard rules, this may mean:

  • Certain beneficiaries may get less (or more) than you would have liked them to
  • The money the inherit will be paid directly to them – even if they are incapable of managing it themselves.
  • They lose any means-tested state benefits
  • As the person is in a vulnerable position, others may try to take advantage of them because of their money

Writing a will allows you to take some extra steps to avoid these things from happening. It also allows you to ensure that those closest to you and those who need it most will receive the right financial support after you pass away.

How can I prevent my child’s benefits being affected by inheritance?

Many parents assume it will be better to disinherit their disabled child so they can continue to receive state benefits – instead giving the money to someone else under the condition that they look after the disabled child.

However, this may not be the best thing to do for a number of reasons.

If circumstances change, the beneficiary may find it difficult to fulfil this role. It may also mean that your disabled child is negatively affected by the life of the beneficiary, for example if they divorce or become bankrupt or even die without making a will making no provision for the disabled individual.

Children also have a legal right to inherit a share of their parent’s estate – if you disinherit a child in your will, there is a good chance it will be contested regardless of whether it is in the bests interests of the child financially.

Also, as you may be aware, children have a legal right to inherit a share of their parent’s estate. If you disinherit a child, there is a risk that another relative or even the local authority could contest your will. This can happen regardless of how the receipt of a large amount of money would affect your child’s benefits.

To avoid these problems, you can set up a discretionary trust in your will.

What is a Trust?

A trust is a legal arrangement that allows assets to be transferred to ‘trustees’ who must use these assets for particular purposes and to benefit the ‘beneficiaries’.

You may set up a trust during your lifetime, or it can be included as part of your will.  A trust is set up by a trust deed, or will. Your trust deed or will will outline:

  • Who the trustees are
  • Who the beneficiaries are
  • How the money or property if to be managed
  • How the money or property may be used
  • Who will receive the money when the trust comes to an end

There are various types of trust that are used in different circumstances. It is important to seek legal advice to ensure you set up the right kind of trust to meet your needs.

What is a discretionary trust?

In a discretionary trust, the Trustees are given discretion about how the assets in the trust are used. This means they will make decisions about if and when payments are made and to whom.

Discretionary trusts may be suitable for beneficiaries who are disabled or have reduced capacity and also for those who receive means tested state benefits or are in community care.

This is because having money or property in a discretionary trust will not affect means tested benefits, and will also not be taken into account when calculating how much should be paid towards care services.

It is also important to consider a discretionary trust if the intended beneficiary is not receiving means tested benefits – they may receive these benefits in the future.

Another important consideration if the beneficiary is a child is to think what they might need when they are an adult, for example it may be a good idea to leave enough money for them to make appropriate home modifications or to pay for specialised courses to assist them with learning.

Can the family home be left in trust for the beneficiary to live in?

The family home can be left in trust for your child or other dependent to live in. However, you should consider leaving enough money to ensure the property can be maintained throughout your child’s life – this can include general maintenance, replacement of important components and emergency repairs.

As well as leaving the family home in a trust there are other ways of allowing your child or dependent to live in the family home after you pass away. You should discuss these options with your solicitor to make sure you select the most appropriate way.

What happens if someone else wishes to leave money to my child? 

Often, a child with reduced capacity’s grandparents may also wish to leave them money in their wills. This could potentially affect the means tested benefits the child receives.

It is possible for grandparents to set up a ‘pilot’ trust for the child, with a nominal amount however the trust will not actually begin until a large amount of money is put into the trust. This also allows others to put money into the trust for your child, such as other family members or friends.

How can I balance the interests of my other children with those of my disabled child?

It can be difficult to decide how much or what proportion of your estate to leave to your disabled child. It may be that you decide all of your children should be given an equal share with your disabled child’s share being put into a discretionary trust.

However, it may be the case that your disabled child has significantly greater need for the money or property than your other children – this will be particularly relevant if your other children are financially independent and thus this should be regularly reviewed as your children grow older. 

On the other hand, it may also be the case that your disabled child manages well on their own and receives wages or means tested benefits and would not greatly benefit from a large amount of money and even be unable to spend it or find it burdensome or disruptive. Each case is different and it is important to discuss your individual circumstances with your solicitor.

Wills Solicitors Based in Scotland

If you have a child or dependent with additional needs it is crucial that you seek specialist legal advice. At Wilson & Fish our solicitors are specialists in executory, probate and wills and offer advice on all aspects of making, enforcing or challenging a will where the estate is based in Scotland.

A New Accident Claims Advice Website Launches for UK Residents

A New Accident Claims Advice Website Launches for UK Residents

This week saw the launch of a new website aimed at UK residents and workers who are looking for expert legal advice on matters concerning accident claims and personal injury claims.  The Accident Claims Advice Web is run by the Accident Claimline who are fully regulated by the Claims Management Regulator and lets users find specific advice on a range of accident claims, and then connects the claimant with a personal injury solicitor close to them.  You can click here to view the website in full, or read on for some additional information. 

An Ethical Approach to Accident Claims Management

Whilst the whole industry surrounding personal injury and accident claims has had some bad press in recent years,  this new Accident Claims Advice website works on an ethical approach.  They don’t go down the route of “ambulance chasing” but instead let claimants come to them and then connect accident claims enquiries up with personal injury solicitors who are local to the claimant.

All of the personal injury solicitors work on a no win no fee agreement and have years of experience in helping claimants to receive the compensation that they deserve for an accident.

In the past they have helped resolve accident claims such as gym injuries, spinal and back claims, industrial deafness, and with specialist knowledge of road accident claims processes.

Specialists in Accidents in the Workplace

The majority of accident claims that they help with are accidents in the workplace.  Nobody goes into work expecting an accident to happen, but when it does unfortunately happen, it can be an extremely painful and debilitating process.

Whilst all employers in the UK require insurance to cover the safety and welfare of all staff and visitors to the company, oftentimes when the worst happens, it can be a hard and lengthy process to get them to complete your claim for compensation.  This is where the Accident Claims Web can help and they have a page dedicated to helping potential claimants calculate a claim.

So for quick, trusted, and reputable accident claims advice from a leading Claims Management Company make sure you give them a call to speak to a specialist today.

Hugh Rollinson, The Accident Claims Web