Are women more likely to be in an accident than men?

Are women more likely to be in an accident than men?
By Sam Williamson

Over the years, a variety of studies have attempted to assess the difference between male and female drivers, and whether one gender really is better at driving than the other.

Some of the claims made in these studies are…..shocking, to say the least. But we have the cold, hard facts that will help put this silly argument to bed. And they may well surprise you.

Let’s start with a 2009 study from Ruhr University that attempted to assess the difference between male and female drivers when performing parking manoeuvres. The study suggested that men were far better at parking than their female counterparts, partly due to females having poor spatial awareness. This was mainly attributed to their lack of testosterone, which impairs their spatial abilities. Hm.

So, what’s the solution? Well, a study carried out earlier this year seems to have the answer. Birth control pills. Women who were taking the pill on a regular basis had lower levels of oestrogen, which drastically improved their special awareness and helped them perform similarly to the men taking part in the study.

Whilst the claims that men have more testosterone in their bodies is certainly true, the claim that this makes males better drivers is far from being accurate. In fact, the high levels of testosterone present in males is probably having the exact opposite effect on their driving skills.

For starters, there are far more road traffic accidents involving men than women, and this has been consistent since 1995. A study carried out in 1995 showed that there were 1.8 million accidents involving females compared to 2.9 million accidents involving males. Another study in 2005 showed that 172,000 males were involved in car accidents versus 93,000 females.  Firstly, that’s a whole load of accidents. Secondly, it makes for some interesting reading.

Results from a 2007 Phillips Atlas study related to male driver habits reinforce these statistics, as it showed that 20% of men have fallen asleep at the wheel compared to 6% of women, and 93% of convicted drink drivers in the UK throughout 2003 were male.

We’re not here to point fingers at either gender. But the idea that having lots of testosterone flying around your body makes you a better driver is completely false, and this is heavily supported by accident related statistics from the studies that we have outlined above.

Sam Williamson
http://www. uk/


Rive Gauche: Time for some Elephants in the room and otherwise…

And some Elephant paintings I did a few years back…


It would be rude to miss out that towering figure of political amusement and bemusement…Chris Grayling MP…so I won’t.  Here he is at his country mansion with a new guest wing for visitors who visit to learn of many things from his Guru-like mind…

And… a few Chris Grayling ‘quotes’…words of wisdom, indeed.

“The Prime Minister needs to have proper security. But I’m not at all persuaded that hiring luxury yachts on behalf of the security services to travel with the Prime Minister while he is on a luxury cruise is a good use of taxpayers’ money,”

“I think most people will be astonished at the way ministers seem to be using the Queen’s Flight as a private taxi service.”

“We’ve got a continuing threat from terrorism, the health service is in financial chaos, there’s a possible petrol price crisis, and yet the prime minister doesn’t even seem to think it important to spend time at his own desk back in Britain. It’s just not good enough.”

“There has to be a real question about whether it is right or sensible for somebody in this position to have such close links with No 10.”

“This shows a lack of judgment that calls into question whether he should remain in the government.”  (Was he referring to himself?…in a rare moment of modesty?) 

And no law at all…. RESULT! Have a great weekend…


Revocation of British Citizenship

Blog – Revocation of British Citizenship

This post first appeared on

Citizenship Deprivation

The deprivation of citizenship i.e, the exclusion of perceived undesirables from the UK is one of the most important trends in immigration at the moment. The reality is there were apparently no recorded instances of citizenship deprivation on the basis of dishonesty between 1983 and 2009. Since 2009 however, there were 30 such decisions, and the numbers have steadily been increasing.

If a migrant has previously lied about his or her identity, or claim for asylum, then they can now expect to face great difficulties obtaining settlement. There are further hurdles still if they then wish to naturalise as a British citizen as our case study demonstrates.

The Case of the Albanian

There are many examples of Albanians entering the UK and pretending to be Kosovan, obtaining immigration status and then eventually applying for British citizenship. Many have since settled down, landed full-time employment, and started a family.

We have been acting on behalf of an Albanian man, his wife and their two British-born children. The Albanian man claimed asylum after giving a false Kosovan identity and being recognised as a refugee. He was granted indefinite leave to remain in 2001. His wife was granted an entry clearance to join him in 2005. The husband was later naturalised as a British citizen and in April 2007 his wife made a successful application for indefinite leave to remain as the spouse of a British citizen.

However, in 2013 the man’s British citizenship was declared null and void. We thereafter made an application for the wife to be granted leave to remain, as she had a genuine and subsisting parental relationship with the two children, both of whom are under the age of 18 – and British citizens. Furthermore, we argued it would not be reasonable to expect the children to leave the UK for Albania as they were both born in the UK, are British citizens, have never lived in Albania and are highly integrated in the UK society and attend full time education here.

With regard to the husband he has encountered further difficulties with regard to being able to travel and work in the UK. Although his indefinite leave to remain was not revoked, when we requested that no time limit stamp be transferred to his Kosovan passport, the Home Office refused. They argued that they were not sure of the identity of our client. In other words they could not be certain that the Albanian man with one name was also the Kosovan man with a different name.

We have demonstrated through DNA testing that the Albanian man is the biological father of the children and we have provided supporting passport photographs and identity details from the Kosovan authorities. However, the Home Office has stated our client failed to provide legitimate reasons why his personal details have changed and as a result refused to issue him with a card confirming his true identity and nationality. In other words he is stuck; he cannot travel with his Kosovan passport because the letter granting him indefinite leave to remain belongs to an Albanian man

with a different name, and despite coming clean, the Home Office will not revoke his indefinite leave to remain or give him a document in his true identity. 


This is another reminder that British citizenship can be refused and revoked on the basis of past dishonesty. Deprivation of citizenship and the exclusion of perceived undesirables from our society, is a new trend and it is not always obvious that the deception is material to the grant of citizenship.

If a migrant has previously lied about his identity or claim for asylum he will now face great difficulty obtaining settlement and even greater hurdles naturalising as a British citizen.

The case continues…

Binge drinking is part of our national Zeitgeist

I wrote this in February 2009

I am grateful to fellow blogger and Twitterer Diane Levin of The Mediation Channelin the US for drawing my attention to a seminal article about the work of academic  Binge drinking mavens at Teeside University – a seat of learning in the North of England.  (Overseas readers and Londoners may find this geographical referencing of some value)

Are there positive aspects to Binge-drinking?Professor Anna van Wersch asks the people of our sodden isle. I quote from the article: “Prof van Wersch explained that while official data tends to quantify binge drinking as five consecutive standard drinks in one sitting for men and four for women….”

I suspect that I speak for many in our profession when I suggest that researchers and government busybodies confuse official definitions of binge-drinking in quantitative terms with what many of us regard as merely ‘opening the batting’ for a decent evening out. Although, to be fair, the researchers did qualify their remarks… ” the researchers explained to participants they were using the term ‘binge- drinking’ to mean ‘a drinking occasion leading to intoxication’.”

To an experienced top order drinker, two bottles not out is, of course, a perfectly respectable score, but it has to be said that some of the greatest batsmen and batswomen of the  “beautiful game of drinking’ often go on to a higher score before being stumped, declared leg before wicket or clean bowled.  Now that Sir Allen Stanford has been arrested by the FBI and sundry other law enforcement agencies for alleged Ponzi style activities in Texas, we cannot really hope for any sponsorship for the Olympic Binge Drinking Games in 2012 – a side event being organised by enthusiastic topers as an anti-dote to  the Olympic games – an event of little interest to many in this country… since the authorities got shirty about banning performance enhancing drugs.

Prof van Wersch, whose findings are published in the Journal of Health Psychology, says we are more inclined to “drink to get drunk” while our continental cousins “simply enjoy the taste of a glass of wine”. She said: “People in England are more high achievers than the Dutch. The quality of their work has to be perfect and their performance is much higher. “There’s a lot of pressure to do well and to behave appropriately and control one’s emotions and that can be stressful..”

While I am delighted by Professor Van Wesrch’s findings, which, for the most part I accept and shall be encouraged by – there is also an element of monumental bollocks in them.   The British,  high achievers, under-achievers and the terminally cool simply like to get pissed.  It is one of our skills, part of our history, our tradition and goes with our disdain for authority and over government….. May I have a government research grant please?  A large one, if you please?   I think this subject needs further analysis.

Terms of reference for Further research
I extract one of Professor van Wesrch’s findings for further analysis: “There is a marked contrast to drinking alcohol in a ‘dry culture’ like Britain, where many people do not drink during the week because they have got work next day and don’t want to suffer from a hangover.”

This latter finding is clearly a fallacy and, viewing it from the legal perspective, verging on defamatory of the people of this over-governed isle….  and  could, if this gets out, lead to 10,000 drinkers on the streets with flaming torches demanding  an apology.

Marek Bednarczyk from Hart Brown cited in leading journal on medical negligence

Marek Bednarczyk from Hart Brown cited in leading journal on medical negligence

Bloomsbury Professional have published the 5th edition of Clinical Negligence the only text of its kind to cover both medical and legal aspects of medical negligence. Marek Bednarczyk, a partner at Guildford based law firm Hart Brown, is one of the contributors. Marek has written the chapter on the Conduct of Proceedings jointly with Master David Cook a Clinical Negligence Master at the Royal Courts of Justice.

Regarded as the “go to” publication on clinical negligence, it is written by a team of 54 experts, and provides the most comprehensive and authoritative guidance on all aspects of clinical negligence claims from bringing an action for damages to presenting expert evidence in court. It also includes detailed consideration of funding and cost implications. Marek’s contributions to this new edition is a recognition of his expertise in the area of personal injury and clinical negligence within Hart Brown. Marek is a member of the AvMA Panel (Action Against Medical Accidents), a charitable organisation which helps people that have suffered an injury from a medical accident, by providing free and confidential advice and support. Marek has also been a long standing member of the Law Society/SRA Clinical Negligence Panel and has worked for many years dealing with legal aid appeals  for the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) an organisation charged with the administration of legal aid. He has been a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) for nearly 20 years and is an accredited APIL Senior Litigator. 

Hardback Edition: 5th: Bloomsbury Professional, Authors Michael Powers QC, Anthony Barton

About Hart Brown

Hart Brown, a leading law firm with offices throughout Surrey and in London, has been offering a full range of legal and financial investment services to businesses and individuals for the past 90 years.  With 15 partners, more than 110 staff, six offices and a reputation for delivering high quality service, Hart Brown is committed to building long-term relationships with its clients. 

In particular, the firm puts great emphasis on regular communication with clients, as well as the need for efficiency and value for money in order to deliver a high-quality service.  Hart Brown currently operates from offices located in Cobham, Cranleigh, Godalming, Guildford, Wimbledon Village and Woking.   For more information please visit 

Rive Gauche: The present Tory Government summed up on one tweet

I would not mind so much if they were just like Grant Shapps….’comically useless’….but they aren’t.  They are a group of rather unpleasant people, many of them coming across as ‘self serving’. serving the interests of themselves and their ‘mega corporation’ masters. At least Tory governments of the past had some redeeming qualities.

Hopefully, one day – they will held to account and kicked out.

Anna Raccoon on The Presumption of Innocence

I am a fan of the writing of the law blogger and author Anna Raccoon.  Her post on the presumption of innocence is worth a close read.

“There was a howl of outrage when it appeared that the Presumption of Innocence had been suspended for those individuals with a penchant for strapping explosives around their waist and ensuring that the police had a neat pile of 24 or 48 disembodied hands to match up in an effort to find the guilty pair responsible for blowing up their fellow citizens.

Liberty, all manner of glossy barristers, Amnesty International; practically chained themselves to the railings in Parliament Square on behalf of suspected terrorists who had been deprived of their internet and mobile phones under Part 4 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 – the Presumption of Innocence was apparently the most valuable asset the United Kingdom possessed, and any abrogation from it – like assuming someone might be guilty without benefit of lengthy multi-barristered trial, rendered us no better than a rogue State.  How dare the Police take it upon themselves to presume guilt? Who did they think they were?

Not one of those expensively tutored, liberty loving, legal assinegoes can be found complaining or even mentioning an internal Police document – Special Notice from 2002 (11/02) – which formed the genesis of formal Police Policy being ‘Believe the Victim’. Everything about that statement reeks of abrogation from the Presumption of Innocence. It is ‘Believe’ not ‘treat with a professional impartiality’. It is the use of the word ‘Victim’ rather than complainant…..”

Read the rest of the post here

WF v The Scottish Ministers Important judgment on the privacy rights of victims of crime and access to Legal Aid

From Inksters Solicitors
Sylvia MacLennan represented the Petitioner

WF v The Scottish Ministers

Important judgment on the privacy rights of victims of crime and access to Legal Aid

The Court of Session has issued an important judgment on the privacy rights of the victims of crime, in the case of WF v The Scottish Ministers.

Changes to the law in 2007 gave those accused of a crime greater powers to obtain documents which they believe may assist in their defence. In the current case, an accused person asked the court to deliver the whole medical records of the complainer – the alleged victim, WF, who was told of the request and wanted to object to this as an unnecessary infringement of privacy.

Unfortunately there were no specific rules in the legislation for such objections, nor for the grant of Legal Aid to anyone wanting to object. WF, with assistance from Inksters Solicitors, used the special provisions for applying to the Scottish Ministers for Legal Aid in cases not covered by the ordinary rules.

The Scottish Ministers refused the application on the basis that WF had no right to have an objection considered by the court and that the court would automatically consider WF’s interests in deciding on the accused’s request. WF appealed this decision to the Court of Session by Judicial Review, assisted by Inksters Solicitors who instructed Dorothy Bain QC and Claire Mitchell, Advocate.

At the Judicial Review there was extensive legal debate by both sides. Rape Crisis Scotland were also permitted to make submissions to the court as “Interveners”, giving detailed written information of their experience of how accused persons had used or attempted to use victims private records and how this had been dealt with by courts in Scotland and in other countries. This was noted as being of great use to the lawyers on both sides as well as the judge to put the current case in a wider context.

After careful consideration, the court held that medical records are protected under the right to privacy given by the European Convention of Human Rights Article 8, and any disclosure must be restricted to the minimum necessary for a specific purpose to balance the interests of justice for one person against the privacy of another.

The court also held therefore that any person whose Article 8 privacy rights may be infringed by a request for a court to order delivery of documents must be notified of the request and be given an opportunity to be heard by the court to argue how much, if any, of such information should be released. The judge, Lord Glennie, also noted that that as there are currently no specific rules for this, requiring the judge to make arrangements on an ad hoc basis, it would be useful if formal procedural rules could be drawn up to assist courts dealing with such cases.

On the basis that the Scottish Ministers had erred in law, the court returned the case to them to reconsider WF’s application for Legal Aid, to allow representation at the application for disclosure of medical records, in light of the correct legal position. The judge also provided some guidance for the Ministers in how they might deal with the application by reference to the recent Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014.

Sylvia MacLennan, Solicitor at Inksters said:

“This is a very important decision for both victims of crime and those accused of a crime. On one hand, no victim of crime should be put off from reporting it for fear that the perpetrator will have free access to their private information. On the other hand, those accused of a crime will still have a right to ask a court to order the release of information which is needed to ensure a fair trial.

A lot of preparation was needed for this case, some of which was carried out by Advocates and by Solicitors within our firm acting for free due to the public importance of the points of law which had been raised. Credit must also be given to WF for showing determination in instructing us to raise the Judicial Review which will have such important legal effect in future cases.”


Inksters are a full service law firm with offices in Glasgow, Inverness, Forfar, Wick, Portree and a visiting base in Lerwick. See:-

The full judgment was published by the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service at 12 noon on 12 February 2016 and can be found at:-