Human Law by Justin Patten

A short post to introduce a friend’s services on Human Law.  Justin Patten has an impressive range of services and the experience to deliver.

“Human Law was established by Justin Patten, solicitor and mediator, and initially focused on employment law and mediation, the firm now covers a wide spectrum of elderly care issues including Wills and Probate and claiming nursing care fees.

 

“Justin managed yesterday’s difficult mediation brilliantly”

David Meville QC

Rive Gauche: V.Good & Co et al…

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 a più tardi….

And..t’ducks get everywhere…

Election 2015: Fox makes a bid for Downing Street

The general election campaign is under way, after Parliament was officially dissolved.

Journalists waiting outside 10 Downing Street on Monday morning spotted a fox, apparently chasing a duck.

I may even manage to shoehorn some law in somewhere in future posts….. this being a law blog etc etc and may even manage to do a sensible painting?…

 

Worried About Care Home Negligence?

As life expectancy increases and NHS budgets become increasingly stretched, the care system will understandably experience mounting pressure. Choosing to enter our loved ones into care also means inherently placing significant trust in the system, the homes themselves and in those who work in them. Unfortunately accidents and illness can occur. In some cases, this is as a result of negligence; an inadequate standard of care or treatment; poor or inappropriate staff procedures; or even a lack of adherence to the proper health and safety guidelines. In such cases, affected residents and their families may be entitled to seek compensation for care home negligence.

 What to Look For?

 Those who have suffered as a result of care home negligence should seek specialist advice regarding making a claim. Indications of negligence may include:

 – Pressure sores

– Complications arising as a result of prescription errors

– Dehydration

– Inadequate supervision from staff

– Inadequate health and safety measures in place.

 The media has highlighted a number of high profile cases of negligence within care homes. It is clear that the most vulnerable members of society deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Care homes have a responsibility to ensure that residents are engaged, feel safe and are given the most appropriate treatments. In addition, it is important that health and safety regulations are observed. Regrettably, this is not always the case.

 Care Home Negligence Compensation

 For those who have suffered abuse or neglect within the care home system, making a claim for compensation may help in a number of ways:

 – Aid in recovery following pain and suffering.

– Cover ongoing costs of medical and psychological treatment arising as a result of the negligence.

– Ensure that the care centre responsible is aware of its failings and is given the opportunity to make the necessary improvements.

 No-one should suffer in silence. Reporting incidents of care home negligence can ensure other residents do not suffer similar problems in the future.

 http://www.handleylaw.co.uk/

Guest Post: Is Your Legal Office Fit for Purpose in Today’s Environment?

Is Your Legal Office Fit for Purpose in Today’s Environment?

We all know the legal environment has changed drastically across a number of legal disciplines, over the last year. These changes have impacted the way operational and marketing processes are undertaken. But in achieving these processes effectively, the office and its layout is often an overlooked aspect.

Whether the office has maintained its authentic, yet potentially outdated appearance over the decades; or even as a result of the recent legal changes, diversifying into other legal disciplines has become a necessary option. Either way, regardless of office scenario, we know being sustainable is more challenging than ever before.

The Solution:

Without going into too much detail, this guide, produced by Opus-4 offers an interesting review of the impact an inspiring design can have on your firms success.

If you have already had an office refurbishment, we would love to hear from you and whether it has positively impacted your firm. Please share your thoughts in the below comment section.

Rive Gauche: Richard 111 – my hearse for a kingdom?

A bit of Shakespeare…

1.
A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!
(5.4.8), Richard

2.
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York.
(1.1.1-2), Richard

3.
And thus I clothe my naked villany
With old odd ends stolen out of holy writ;
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.
(1.3.343), Richard

The BBC has spent industrial amounts of time covering this – I suppose it saves having to actually make any TV programmes…so all good.  I had to tweet this after nearly another hour of BBC cutting edge TV burial action….

 

And on it went..

 So excited was I at all this burying Richard action…that I could not even type the tweet above accurately…mea culpa…. BBC wasn’t ‘buying’ Richard III…they were ‘burying’ him with the help of some God botherers… to add a bit of solemnity action to the surreal proceedings.

Rive Gauche: UK Nutters Party

BBC News reports: UKIP in turmoil over general election candidates

“UKIP is facing claims it is in disarray after two election candidates were suspended and a third stood down.

MEP and general election candidate Janice Atkinson was suspended over allegations that a member of her staff tried to overcharge EU expenses.

Stephen Howd was suspended after harassment allegations were made against him, which he denies.

Jonathan Stanley quit claiming there was “open racism and sanctimonious bullying” within the party.

Mr Stanley, who was due to stand for UKIP in Westmorland and Lonsdale at the general election, told his local newspaper: “I have given my full resignation to the party because of issues happening in Scotland: open racism and sanctimonious bullying within the party.

“This sectarian racist filth in Scotland needs cleaning up. It is a great threat to the Eurosceptic cause and civil society.”

‘Astonished’

A UKIP spokesman said: “We are treating Mr Stanley’s comments with the incredulity they deserve….. ‘

 

Well…there we are… it can only get better on the UKIP amusement front…

Back on the morrow.

‘Revenge porn’

‘Revenge porn’, the term coined for the unauthorised sharing of private sexual photographs or videos, often carried out by spurned lovers over the medium of the Internet, has been criminalised in England and Wales under the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 (‘the Act’) which received Royal Assent on 12 February 2015.

When the provisions come into force it will be an offence, under section 33(1) of the Act to ‘disclose a private sexual photograph or film if the disclosure is made (a) without the consent of the individual who appears, and (b) with the intention of causing that individual distress’.

A person discloses the photograph or film if they make it available to another person ‘by any means’ (section 34(2)). The Act therefore covers the use of email, text and instant message services such as WhatsApp and SnapChat, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and wider publication on the Internet, together with traditional ‘offline’ dissemination. ‘Private’ is defined in this context by section 35 as of a kind that is not ordinarily seen by the public, whilst ‘sexual’ includes not only exposure of the genitals, but anything that a reasonable person would consider to be sexual because of its nature or context. ‘Photograph or film’ includes images that have been doctored (section 34(5)).

Examples of the kinds of alterations that perpetrators sometimes make are adding supposedly humorous features, distorting body parts, and making it look as though a person is engaged in pornography. However, the image will not be sexual if it is only rendered such by virtue of the alteration (section 35(5)). Those convicted could face a sentence of up to two years imprisonment (section 33(9)).

The intention to cause distress will have to be proven, and it will not be assumed merely because that was a natural or probable consequence of the disclosure (section 33(8)). In addition, the Act provides that a person will have a defence if he or she can show one of the following specific circumstances: –

  • that it was reasonably necessary to disclose the image for the purposes of preventing, detecting or investigating crime (section 33(3)).
  • that the disclosure was made with a view to publication of journalistic material and that he or she reasonably believed that the publication would be in the public interest (section 33(4)).
  • that he or she reasonably believed that the photograph or film had previously been disclosed for reward either by the individual depicted or by another, and he or she had no reason to believe that the disclosure was made without the consent of the depicted individual (section 33(5)).

Brett Wilson says:

Whilst a number of existing offences have previously been used to prosecute ‘revenge porn’, none were specific or broad enough to cover the multitude of different circumstances in which victims found themselves. Further, it is apparent that this type of behaviour has been on the rise, particularly amongst teenagers and young adults, and it must be hoped that the creation of a specific offence may bring greater public awareness and some deterrent effect (the Ministry of Justice has also launched the#NoToRevengePorn / BewareB4YouShare campaigns).  For both those reasons, the creation of this new offence (amongst the proliferation of new criminal offences over the past two decades), must surely be welcomed.

Looking beyond that, the mental element of the offence and the specific defences available, both warrant some consideration.

The mental element

The mental element of the offence as drafted as specific intent – the defendant must intend to cause distress or be “subjectively reckless” (being aware that distress would be caused but not caring and going ahead anyway).  It is not enough to prove “objective recklessness” – where the defendant “ought to have known” the likely effect of the disclosure.

Whilst many incidents of ‘revenge porn’ are doubtless intended to embarrass and humiliate the victim, some may arise because the perpetrator believes it to be amusing or is trying to impress their friends, without giving any thought to the potential impact on the person concerned.  Are such individuals to escape punishment?

As drafted, the law may also restrict the ability to prosecute ‘onward’ publishers, whether commercial entities or lay individuals.  It appears that this issue was at least partially considered in the parliamentary debates, but that the drafting reflects the Government’s desire to tackle the specific mischief of ‘revenge’, hence the mental element and the focus on the initial disclosure.

Defences

The defence concerning the prevention, detection or investigation of crime may at first seem incongruous, but is presumably intended to protect those cooperating with law enforcement officials (for example, a person accused or witness to a crime offering images to the police) or the officials themselves.

The ‘journalists’ defence’ is more interesting. As lawyers know, the question of what is in the ‘public interest’, as opposed to being of interest to the public, is a thorny one.  There is no statutory definition of the term. This law might give pause for thought to individual journalists who might be about to publish photographs of, for example, a celebrity.  Whilst their employers may be able to indemnify them against privacy claims, it cannot insulate them from criminal charges.  In anticipation of this fear, the Act states at section 33(6) that a person need only provide sufficient evidence towards this defence to raise an issue, and the Crown must then prove the contrary beyond reasonable doubt.  It was stated in the Lords debate of 20 October 2014 that this ‘stringent test’ was necessary to ensure that the offence did not inappropriately interfere with press freedom, although on close examination, it is difficult to see how this alters the usual balance of proof in criminal proceedings.

The reasonable belief that material was previously published for reward is presumably designed to protect those distributing what they believe to be commercial pornography. In the explanatory notes that accompanied the Lords amendments, an example was given of an individual who held a reasonable belief that the photograph had previously been published on a commercial basis because he or she had seen it in a magazine. However, whilst it might seem entirely appropriate that an individual sharing a video that he or she believes to be ‘legitimate’ pornography, be protected by the Act, surely that individual would be spared prosecution in any event, as they could not have been intending to cause distress to the person concerned.

To view Brett Wilson’s eBook Cyberbullying, Online Harassment & Twibel -The State of Play in 2015 click here

Have your say:

https://www.facebook.com/BrettWilsonllp

@brettwilsonllp

Guest Post: Buying a New Property? Make Sure All Your Finances Are Covered!

Buying a New Property? Make Sure All Your Finances Are Covered!

Even for the most legally savvy, purchasing a property can be a stressful time. Whether you’re a first time buyer, or a veteran investor, there’s always the chance of unexpected hurdles getting in the way during the buying process that can throw you off track.

The most common issues that surround prospective buyers will usually revolved around miscalculations with finances and unexpected fees. With careful planning, much of this can be avoided, ensuring a smooth journey from the original offer, right through to the final completion.

To help you on your property journey, the conveyancing team at Gorvins Solicitors have developed a number of useful tools to help guide buyers through the process, including our comprehensive Stamp Duty Calculator.

Although Stamp Duty is an unavoidable fee, many buyers find themselves underestimating, or missing this fee out of their budget calculations altogether, particularly when purchasing their first home. Our calculator has taken the guess work out of calculating your fees, so you no longer have speculate over Stamp Duty rates.

If you are planning on buying a property in the UK, that reaches a certain price, you will be required to Stamp Duty Land Tax. This includes the all purchase of all properties, including; houses, flats, buildings and other land.

The stamp duty rate depends on; the price of the property at the time of purchase, and whether it is a residential property. Stamp Duty can also be charged against some leased properties.

Previous to December 2014, stamp duty was charged at a blanket rate across the entire property. However, this is now charged at increasing rates for each tier of the price.

To help with any confusion, this handy calculator tells you the amount of Stamp Duty payable, based on the current value of your property. You just have to simply enter the value and click ‘calculate’, and receive your Stamp Duty fees in just a few seconds.

To find out more information on residential conveyancing, or to use the stamp duty calculator, contact a member of the Gorvins team today. 

Rive Gauche: Three judges have been removed from office…and other matters of law…

Three judges have been removed from office and a fourth has resigned after allegations they “viewed pornographic material on judicial IT equipment in their offices”, the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office has announced.
Read the news report

  • n Latitat (O. Eng. Law) A writ based upon the presumption that the person summoned was hiding.

The BBC report: Judges sacked for watching porn

I was fascinated by this old writ when I was a student – the thought of someone lurking and running about’ came to mind – latitat et discurrit

The case being simple in English, the Bench
Resorted, of course, to their old Norman French;
But the Bar being frightened, thought best to defer it,
And pray out the writ latitat et discurrit.

“Scire Facias” by John Gardiner Calkins Brainard
Back later….

Charon paintings found in storage bunker!

A number of my ‘paintings’ – ‘wot I done’ a few years ago – have surfaced – found in a storage bunker.  I am not entirely sure that the world benefits in any way from ‘this find’…but here they are…

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Well..there we are… if you would like to buy one make me an offer no higher than £20 + postage. Email Charon

(The painting directly above is a banker.  We had a banker caused banking crisis at the time.)

 

Rive Gauche: Ephemera

I like the word ‘ephemera’ – it suits my mood tonight.

But there is nothing ephemeral about the posts I cover below from the law bloggers…

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

Law and Lawyers – The blog of Obiter J: “Court fees will rise as a result of approval by Parliament of a Statutory Instrument imposing the increases – Law Society Gazette 5th March.  For many people in need of the law, access to justice will now be a forlorn hope….”

Lucy Reed on her Pink Tape blog: Bundle of hyperbole – “Legal Cheek has done a good job of upping the ante in relation to my “bundle rage” post last week. Lashings of phrases like “Top Judge”, and “rows”, “ranting” and “slamming”. I’d characterise it as more of a pitiful howl of frustration than some kind of legal punch up. But hey. That’s Legal Cheek for you – everything is a story not a conversation….”

Anya Proops of 11 KBW on Panopticon blog writes: Facing justice: judgment against Facebook in privacy/data protection case

UK Human Rights Blog: Public protest, private rights

John Bolch on his Family Lore blog: Replacing the old with the new

I remember doing The Observer moot when I was at University way back in the 1970s when my co-mooter – now a well regarded Family QC –  opened his part as follows: “My Lord, murder is a grave offence.’  The moot judge, a barrister from Birmingham – Rex Tedd from memory – burst out laughing, as did most of the audience.

Have a good weekend… I will be back – and I may even manage to write about “Law” – this being a “Law” blog etc etc…

 

 

Home Office Cracks down on Marriages to Foreign Nationals

Home Office Cracks down on Marriages to Foreign Nationals

On the 2nd March 2015 the Marriages and Civil Partnerships Regulations 2015 and associated Orders will be implemented.

The Regulation will strengthen the Home offices position as they attempt to expose sham marriages and civil partnerships in the UK. Tougher checks on proposed marriages, or civil partnerships, will be reviewed by the Home Office if one or both of the parties are non-UK/non-EEA nationals with limited or no status.

Individuals that have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK, EU right of permanent residence or right of abode, will only need to provide evidence of their status when giving notice.  

Key points from the new scheme:

  • The scheme has extended the 15 days’ notice period. Now, all couples planning to marry in the UK must give 28 days’ notice before marrying; 
  • Non-UK/non-EEA nationals with limited or no status who give notice to marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK will be referred to the Home Office for review;
  • Couples that have been referred may be required to wait 70 days before marrying if a decision to investigate is made;   
  • Non-UK/non EEA nationals wanting to marry in the Anglican Church will now be required to give notice at a register office also.
  • EEA nationals (including British citizens) have to provide specified evidence of their citizenship to the Anglican Church prior to being married by the church.
  • All non-UK/non-EEA nationals who are not exempt from immigration control are now required to give notice of their marriage at a designated register office (75 offices will be designated nationwide) rather than at the office in the district in which they reside.

Orders are in effect that extend the investigation and referral scheme to Northern Ireland and Scotland. Couples that have given notice prior to the 2nd March 2015 will be subject to transitional arrangements.

Couples that are likely to be referred may wish to contact us for immigration advice prior to giving notice of their intention to marry.

DavidsonMorris, immigration solicitors London, is a modern legal services provider specialising in business immigration law. We support a range of private and commercial clients with expertise in the financial services, petrochemical and education sectors, advising major multi-nationals, FTSE 100 and Global 2000 companies, to help them meet their global mobility needs.

Guest Post: How to pass a health and safety inspection

How to pass a health and safety inspection

For many business owners, health and safety inspections are a dreaded occasion. After all, if they don’t go well, firms stand to jeopardise their reputation and face serious penalties. However, these formal checkups are a necessary part of the business world and they are there to help ensure that employees, customers and the general public are not placed at risk. If your company has such an inspection on the horizon, this guide should help shed some light on what to expect.

What do inspections involve?

Workplace inspections can take various forms, including tours, safety sampling, safety surveys and incident inspections. External inspections can be carried out by union-appointed health and safety officers or by specialist consultants like Phoenix Health and Safety.

Inspectors have to give notice before they visit your premises, and the frequency of inspections will depend on the type of work your firm does. For example, if you operate in a high-risk environment such as a construction site, then you can expect more frequent checkups than if you are based in an office. However, even if you are not due an inspection in the near future, it’s important to always be prepared.

Who will they speak to?

The inspectors who visit your business may ask to speak to a range of people, including employers, managers, human resource personnel, trade union staff and any health and safety representatives. It’s therefore a good idea for these people to be on hand during an inspection to ensure that suitable expertise is available to offer information on any health and safety issues that might arise.

What will they be looking for?

In most cases, health and safety inspectors visit your premises to determine whether your business meets the standards for health, safety and welfare for your particular line of work. They will be looking for proof that your business plans to, or has already carried out, an adequate risk assessment and has made the appropriate arrangements to control work-related hazards. Risk assessments involve identifying any potential threats and the necessary solutions, such as staff safety training.

Other areas of health and safety they may look out for include stress at work, safe use of equipment, personal protective clothing and housekeeping. It’s also a good idea to pay attention to changes in health and safety laws and to make sure that your employees are aware of and are adhering to the safety procedures you currently have in place.

What happens if my business fails an inspection?

If an inspector has deemed that your business has failed in an area of health and safety, they will issue you with an improvement notice. This will inform you as to where you need to make improvements and when they need to be made by. As long as your business complies, you won’t face any penalties and you should pass the next inspection.

Although inspections can be daunting, if you are doing everything you can to keep your employees safe, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t pass with flying colours.

Top QC defends ‘vital role’ of UK Human Rights Act

Top QC defends ‘vital role’ of UK Human Rights Act

“The Human Rights Act is not a challenge to the common law but a vital protection for it, one of the highest-profile barristers in England and Wales argues today.

In a pamphlet published by free-market thinktank Politeia, Dinah Rose QC of Blackstone Chambers (pictured) cautions the Conservative party against its plan to replace the act with a ‘British bill of rights’. Such proposals envisage ‘very significant constitutional change’, she said.

A draft British bill of rights promised by the Conservative Party before Christmas has yet to appear, leading to speculation that the measure has run into difficulty.

In her pamphlet What’s the Point of the Human Rights Act? Rose says that the 1998 Human Rights Act plays a vital role in the UK constitution. The act ‘offers a constitutional framework for the enforcement of rights which would otherwise be lacking’.

In limited circumstances it can also fill gaps in the scope of the ‘substantive rights protected under our own common law’.

Rose accuses the current government of corroding respect for the courts and legal process through hostile responses to adverse judgments…..

Read the article – it is excellent.

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Rive Gauche: A quick look at the law blogs et al….

Clare Rodway in her The Conversation blog writes…

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 the blog post

John Bolch of Family Lore has caught the Spring weather with: Bundles of joy

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

“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…..”

John Flood on his Random Academic Thoughts (RATs) blog –  A slideshare: Lawyers lack of Business Insight 

lawactually (Law with a Small L) : Top Five Ways to Guard Against Data Theft

Charles Fincher – he does great cartoons: Leaving the Kids Out of the Will

Obiter J – It’s no good …! : A stench of Ministerial hypocrisy pervaded central London this week.
The Global Law Summit was a “stellar” event attended by legal notables from around the world.  TheSecretary of State for Justice spoke of the importance of the rule of law and the ideas implanted by Magna Carta.  The following extract gives a flavour of his speech:

“In the UK, the legal sector contributes over £20 billion to our GDP, employing over 300,000 people. And UK law firms play an important role in the success of international businesses worldwide.  In London, we have a centre of legal excellence that is rival to any other great city in the world. I would like it to stay that way…..”

Read the article

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And finally…something to worry about? : Read

 

Law Review: The end of Chris Grayling?

Joshua Rozenberg asks: “Could the apparent lack of Tory commitment to a UK bill of rights spell the end for Chris Grayling?”

An interesting article by Joshua Rozenberg – but one which prompts the statement ‘One can only hope’ (?)

Rozenberg writes: “As a commitment, it could not have been clearer. ‘We will shortly publish a draft British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities for consultation,’ the Conservatives promised. That was five months ago.

Human rights reform plans were launched by Chris Grayling at his party conference in 2013. ‘In the new year the Conservatives will publish a document setting out what we will do,’ he declared. ‘And then later in the year [2014] we will publish a draft bill which will set out in legal detail exactly how our changes will take effect.’

Read the article