The latest issue of the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers is now published.

The latest issue of the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers is now published. The PDF issue is attached. Print subscribers will receive their print issues shortly.

In this issue

  • Legal services – Delia Venables reviews the 50 plus companies (as distinct from law firms) selling legal documents and services online
  • Tribunals – Jamie Anderson of Trinity Chambers reviews the Employment Tribunals Decisions now on GOV.UK
  • Websites – Sue Bramall of Berners Marketing looks at mistakes to avoid in commissioning a website
  • Intranets – Helen Dewar describes the process of commissioning a new intranet for Leigh Day
  • Technology – Alex Heshmaty of Legal Words explains what smart contracts are and the current and potential uses
  • Publications and events – Nick Holmes rounds up the latest lawtech publications, launches and events

Access the Newsletter online

The latest issue of the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers is now published. The PDF issue is attached. Print subscribers will receive their print issues shortly.

In this issue

  • Legal services – Delia Venables reviews the 50 plus companies (as distinct from law firms) selling legal documents and services online
  • Tribunals – Jamie Anderson of Trinity Chambers reviews the Employment Tribunals Decisions now on GOV.UK
  • Websites – Sue Bramall of Berners Marketing looks at mistakes to avoid in commissioning a website
  • Intranets – Helen Dewar describes the process of commissioning a new intranet for Leigh Day
  • Technology – Alex Heshmaty of Legal Words explains what smart contracts are and the current and potential uses
  • Publications and events – Nick Holmes rounds up the latest lawtech publications, launches and events

Access the Newsletter online

Lawyer 2B reports: Judges speaking up – and being slapped down

Since last year’s notorious “Enemies of the People” headline, there has been a fierce debate about how the judiciary should respond to public criticism. The Lord Chancellor, Liz Truss MP resisted calls to speak up on the judges’ behalf, saying that although she supported the independence of the judiciary it was not for her as a government minister to censor the tabloid press. Instead, she suggested judges should speak up on their own behalf. But that can cause problems, as recent events have shown.

The judiciary are “hopelessly bad at communicating with the press” and “simply won’t get engaged”, according to Sir Alan Moses, a former Lord Justice who is now chairman of the press regulator Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) speaking to the BBC at the time. (It’s not the first time he’s criticised the judiciary for their failure to engage with the media, as revealed in this discussion of his 2014 lecture, Wearing the Mourning Robes of our Illusions: Justice in a Spin.)

But Moses agreed with the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd that the Lord Chancellor had not gone far enough to defend the judiciary in the wake of the High Court’s decision in the Brexit ‘Article 50’ case (Regina (Miller and another) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union[2016] EWHC 2768 (Admin); [2017] 2 WLR 583, DC).

Read the rest of the article here

Biblio – a new Law Society magazine from East Park Communications

biblioSimon Castell, who runs East Park Communications, publishes an extensive range of Local Law Society magazines.  They are interesting, a good read and a good way of keeping up to date with your local Law Society. Biblio is a new magazine produced by East Park Communications.  You may read it online here.

You may look at all the other Law Society magazine here

US visas for business immigration

US visas for business immigration
By Davidson Morris, Solicitors

The US remains a popular destination for business immigration.

Any foreign individual (ie non-citizen of the US, Canada and Bermuda) seeking to enter the US for business or work-related purposes must first apply for a visa.

This is provided the individual is not covered by the US ‘Visa Waiver Program’.

What is the Visa Waiver Program?

The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens of specified countries to visit the US for up to 90 days without a visitor visa, provided they meet certain requirements.

Eligible countries include:

United Kingdom, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Taiwan.

In addition to having status as a national of one of the specified countries, applicants must also not otherwise be ineligible for a US visa, for example due to a criminal record.

Applicants must also hold a valid e-passport.

The Visa Waiver Program cannot be used if the purpose of travel is for study, self-employment, foreign journalism or settlement.

Where non-US citizens are not eligible under the VWP, they must apply for an appropriate US visa.

Which US visa? 

US visas are issued by the US Embassy or Consulate. They entitle holders to travel to the US.

Importantly, a visa does not guarantee entry to the US. Holders remain subject to immigration control checks, exercised by immigration officials at the port of entry who will confirm or refuse admission to the country.

Each visa category carries specific eligibility criteria and application requirements.

The purpose of the intended travel and other facts will determine what type of visa category is required.

As part of the visa application process, applicants will need to establish that they meet all requirements under the specific category of visa.

Individual eligibility and capacity to meet each visa requirements will be scrutinised as part of the visa application process.

It is important therefore to select the most appropriate visa for each individual circumstances to avoid application delays, lost fees costs and potential application refusal.

Some of the more common US visa types for business purposes include:

 

 

The B1 visa allows holders to carry out business-related activity within the US during a time-limited visit.

 

 

 

The E-1 treaty trader visa allows foreign nationals of a ‘treaty nation’ to enter the US to engage in international trade in the US for a US organisation where more than 50 per cent of the business is trade between the US and your home country.

 

 

The E2 visa permits individuals from 80 specified treaty countries to invest in or set up a business in the US. Applicants are required to intend to make significant investment, equating to at least 50% ownership, in a US business. 

 

 

  • Short-term employee transfer – L1 visa

 

L 1 visas are available to employees of an international company with offices in both the United States and abroad. The visa allows such foreign workers to relocate to the organisation’s US office to deliver expansion, such as opening a new office.

 

The most popular route to work in the US, the H1B visa allows US companies to employ workers in occupations that require specialist skills and expertise in specific fields. Importantly it must be the employer that applies for the H1B visa.

 

The B2 visa allows foreign nationals temporary entry to the US for tourism and pleasure related activity.

Each category has restrictions, exceptions and nuances. For example, the visa category will determine length of visit, if and how dependants may be brought with the main visa holder, as well as other factors, conditions and restrictions relating to the visit.

Tips for US business visa applications

 

  • Plan ahead

Visa applications should be made as far in advance as possible.

 

  • Select the right visa

Consider the specific circumstances of the visit and the individual applicant.

 

  • Get the application right

US visa application processes are stringent.

 

Avoid errors, omissions and oversights as these can result in delays, lost fees and even refusals. Applications must be completed fully and accurately and be accompanied by valid and relevant supporting documentation.

 

  • Prepare for the interview

The interview will go into detail about travel plans, reason for visit, length of stay as well as a broad range of background matters, such as dependants, travel history, personal finances, residential status in home country.

 

We recommend seeking specialist advice to help avoid any surprises or issues with US visa applications.

 

Immigration law firm DavidsonMorris has a specialist US immigration team helping businesses and individuals with US visa applications.

Joshua Rozenberg QC on Brexit


Joshua Rozenberg QC Facebook reference

THE GENERAL ELECTION: A LAWYER WRITES

The motion that Theresa May will put to the House of Commons tomorrow will be “that there shall be an early parliamentary general election”. Under section 2 of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, the election will take place before 2020 if that motion is passed by the House of Commons. The House of Lords is not involved.

A motion may be passed by the Commons with or without a vote (known as a “division”). If there is a division, the motion calling for an early parliamentary election will pass only if “the number of members who vote in favour of the motion is a number equal to or greater than two-thirds of the number of seats in the House (including vacant seats)”. That means it needs at least 434 votes in favour.

In that event, says the act, “polling day for the election is to be the day appointed by Her Majesty by proclamation on the recommendation of the Prime Minister”. We know that Theresa May will recommend 8 June.

Parliament will not be dissolved tomorrow. A few days will be needed for MPs and peers to pass essential business, such the Finance Bill. That can’t be done until the House of Lords returns from its recess next week. The Finance (No. 2) Bill is being debated in the Commons this afternoon.

Some other bills will be rushed through. But they will not include the Prisons and Courts Bill, which is nowhere near ready. It was always intended that it would be carried over to the next parliamentary session. If the Conservatives win the general election, they would be expected to reintroduce the bill.

There is no reason why they should not, since it has the support of the prime minister. A delay of two or three months should make no difference to the plans for online courts.

And who will be the bill’s sponsoring minister? I would not put any money on Elizabeth Truss keeping her job as Lord Chancellor. We can expect a Cabinet reshuffle even if the Conservatives win. It would be an ideal time to bring in a Secretary of State for Justice with more political experience. Michael Gove is sounding much more supportive of Theresa May today than she ever was of him.

Like all ministers, Truss will remain in post until a new government is formed shortly after June 8. But she will not be a MP after parliament is dissolved.

A Conservative government with a new five-year term would presumably be in a stronger position to negotiate Brexit. Not only will have more time at its disposal, it will have an electoral mandate for leaving the EU. And, if May’s calculations are correct, it will be less vulnerable to backbench rebellions over Brexit.

Another argument in favour of an early election has received rather less attention today. Last month, the Conservative Party was fined £70,000 after an investigation by the Electoral Commission into the party’s campaign spending. Some Conservative MPs may be personally vulnerable to legal challenge. A new election limits that risk — provided the party obeys the rules this time.

One unintended consequence of the early election may be to delay the introduction of the Unified Patent Court across most of the EU. The government said last year that it wanted to remain part of the court and had promised to introduce the necessary secondary legislation “in the spring”. If that’s delayed, the court may have to postpone its planned start date of December 2017.

And what about human rights? The prime minister deferred a policy decision on a “British” bill of rights to the next Conservative manifesto. That will come three years sooner than expected. I’m sure there will be some sort of pledge but I still detect no appetite at all for reform. I certainly don’t expect a commitment to leave the human rights convention.

UPDATE: I should have pointed out that, under section 3 of the 2011 act, parliament will be dissolved at the beginning of the 25th day before the date appointed for the election (excluding weekends and holidays). So the last day on which this parliament may sit is Tuesday 2 May. But it may be prorogued sooner.

The new British University ‘Scumdog Millionaires’…Dreadful

I have a feeling that some British Universities will do very little about Cheating law essays / dissertations etc …. I hope to be convinced otherwise.  I am appalled.

I am sure that even some English Universities may do something to resurrect their international reputations on this….  I really do hope so.  Sorry to be so ‘unconvinced’.

It really is tragic that British academic law standards have dropped so low.  I am sure that Scotland has not followed this unpleasing trend.  I do hope so.  if not – we may as well give up on ‘Integrity’.

 

 

Guest Post: Launch of new crowdfunded app Playora set to change the way photos and videos are shared

Launch of new crowdfunded app Playora set to change the way photos and videos are shared

 

Playora allows you to share photos and videos instantly, to anyone, on any device or Smart TV, anywhere in the world.

 

Playora is a new app which will quickly and easily allow people to share their media from mobile devices to other screens, including Smart TVs, no matter where they are located (even on the other side of the world).

 

Serial entrepreneur and founder of Playora, Matt Spall, explains: “Sharing photos, videos, music and other media to other screens can be complex and frustrating. Playora enables simple sharing of digital media to almost any screen; handheld or household. Using our proven technology core Playora’s first release will be available on iOS and Android platforms as a free-to-download freemium app.”

 

Playora allows users to display instantly any media file (including photos and videos) on family and friends’ screens anywhere in the world. For example:

 

  • Imagine you’ve got photos and videos of your kids on your Android phone, and their grandparents, on the other side of the world, want to see them on their tablet. Imagine you could instantly share those photos to their tablet and that they can then share them from their tablet to their Samsung Smart TV.

 

  • Imagine you’re with your friends in a bar, and you want to show them your holiday pictures. Imagine the pictures you choose appearing on all their smartphone and tablet screens, all at the same time, irrelevant of manufacturer.

 

  • Imagine you’re at your parents’ house, and you’ve got a video on your phone to show them. Imagine being able to send it directly to their Smart TV without messing around with wires or streaming boxes.

 

Playora is initially monetised using in-app advertising. In-app purchases will be added later. The team forecast 2million installs in year one, and close to 10 million by year three.

 

Playora founder Matt Spall is a BAFTA winning serial technical entrepreneur, with a significant background in digital entertainment since 1986. Matt is the designer of Playora and has been active in development on Smart TV platforms and content since 2011.

 

Fellow Director Simon Jeffrey has had significant exposure to high profile licensed assets through his experiences with Virgin, Sega, LucasFilm and Hasbro-owned Backflip Studios. Simon is an investor and early advisor to AppLovin Inc., which recently agreed a US$1.4 billion sale to Orient Hontai Capital.

 

It is predicted that 2.1bn people will be smartphone users by the end of 2016 (Statistahttps://goo.gl/VQvc8W)  79% of smartphone users regularly take photos with their smartphone, making it the most popular non-call based activity (Futuresource Consulting). Worldwide shipments of Smart TVs exceeded 100mm in 2015, with more than half of all TV sets shipped globally in Q1 of 2016 (IHShttps://goo.gl/3FdmdV). 42m streaming stick devices were sold in 2015, a third of them being Google’s Chromecast (Strategy Analyticshttps://goo.gl/xeGDEv). Google revealed in July 2016 that Chromecast sales had risen to over 30m (Recodehttps://goo.gl/icWt1f)

 

For more information about Playora see: http://www.playora.com/ and https://www.crowdcube.com/playora

 

About Playora

Founded by BAFTA winning serial technical entrepreneur Matt Spall, Playora is the trading name of Invisiplay Limited. The company was formed with the specific purpose of making it easier to use, so called, ‘Smart’ technology for entertainment by people left behind by the digital divide.

 

http://www.playora.com/

https://www.crowdcube.com/playora

@Playora

https://www.facebook.com/playoraapp

 

Lord Chief Justice criticises Liz Truss

Belfast Telegraph article

“Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, who was one of the High Court judges who ruled that Parliament, not the Prime Minister, had the final say on triggering Article 50, said Ms Truss had been “constitutionally wrong” not to stand up for the judiciary in the face of fierce press criticism.

The Lord Chief Justice criticised the stance taken by Ms Truss that it was not her role to tell the media what to write.

He told the Lords Constitution Committee: “T o my mind, she was completely and absolutely wrong.

“And I am very disappointed.

“I can understand how the pressures were on in November but she has taken a position that is constitutionally, absolutely wrong.

“In short, I believe the Lord Chancellor is completely and utterly wrong in the view she takes.”…..

Immigration Law: Residency Rules Changes Cause EU Nationals Panic

Immigration Law: Residency Rules Changes Cause EU Nationals Panic
Ryan Duffy

Panic has set in this week for EU citizens based in the UK after news emerged that Government regulation changes will grant the Home Office the ability to remove people from the country if they don’t have a comprehensive sickness insurance (CSI).

Immigration specialists have published briefings stating claims that the Home Office acquired controversial new enforcement powers that would start from the 1st of last month against EU citizens.

The new power brings warning to EU nationals who aren’t considered to have EEA PR, more commonly known as a right of residence. This includes spouse of UK citizens as well as many students who don’t have a CSI, meaning they could be refused entry or worse be deported.

The Home Office have been quick to dismiss these claims are incorrect, going on to state to these regulations aren’t a new measure. Their spokesperson said: ‘It is completely wrong to say that we have new powers to deport EU citizens without comprehensive sickness insurance. EU citizens will not be removed from the UK or refused entry solely because they do not have this insurance. Their right to remain will remain unchanged while we are a member of the European Union and they do not need any additional documents to prove their status.’

However, according to the briefing, the new sparked a surge of panic from EU nationals who are living in the UK. There were hundreds of concerned messages following the social media posting of the piece. These issues were coming from mature students as well as spouse of British Citizens who are not working and are therefore at risk at being removed due to these rule changes.

The barrister who put together the initial briefing, Colin Yeo of Garden Court Chambers in London, described how he thought the changes wouldn’t have as detrimental of an impact as what was first thought, however he went on to state how he felt that the Home Office was being ‘careless’ and creating ‘unnecessary panic’ to these people.

Speaking to the Independent, Colin said, ‘According to the regulations, if you are perfectly self-sufficient in the UK and you’re not claiming benefits or anything like that, but you don’t have comprehensive sickness insurance, you don’t have a right of residence and therefore you could be removed. I don’t think the Home Office is going to enforce this against say, the French wife of a British citizen. I think they’re using it against people they don’t like, like Polish rough sleepers. The position of a Polish homeless person who hasn’t committed any criminal offences or claimed public funds is the same as the wife of a British banker but doesn’t have CSI, according to the regulations. They’re both equally removable as far as the Home Office is concerned. I think they’ve drawn it up without really realising the power they’ve granted themselves and the way that it’s going to make people feel, because this is going to make people feel very insecure.’

These immigration law changes come after reports that PM May stopped giving rights to EU nationals under the new freedom of movement rules when Article 50 was triggered. It’s still yet to be apparent if the Governments plan will breach European treaties that guarantee the freedom of movement. Under this plan, there currently is around 3.6 million EU citizens residing in Britain so those who came before the change will have their rights protected – that is dependent on whether the EU agree the same states for UK people living in Europe.

Why a Lasting Power of Attorney Can Be Important for Your Marriage

Why a Lasting Power of Attorney Can Be Important for Your Marriage
Ryan Duffy

It has been projected that each year, thousands of people have an accident or develop conditions that damage their mental capacity. It is likely that you will assume that when you are married to your partner, that if you every require money for your loved one’s medical care, it will be as simple as going into a bank and request access to their money. However, this is not the case, and the only you can do this is with a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). If you do not have a LPA, you may be forced to go through a long legal battle to get the rights to the money. Obviously, when you are having to deal with your partner being ill, this is the last thing you want to be doing! To ensure you don’t get into this position, read below to make sure you are fully informed about an LPA.

What is LPA?

If you happen to find yourself in the horrible position where you condition where you are unable to care for yourself because of an accident or a disease, it would leave you in a position where someone else will have to manage your finances. The LPA is a legal document that allows you to nominate your partner so you have someone you trust to handle your affairs.

When Does the LPA Become Active?

In 2005, the mental capacity act which was brought forward. This act is used as the criteria to assess whether you will be unable to act on your own behalf if you are ill or have been in an accident. The outline of the act states that loss of mental capacity is apparent when a person cannot function and retain information which is required for them to make a decision on something. If you have an LPA already written it will then become active and your partner will make your decision for you.

Why Set One Up?

If you do get to the stage where you are unable to act on your own behalf and still haven’t set up a LPA, then your partner will then need to try and become a ‘deputy’ – which is a very long expensive process. This is a highly confusing matter and you will more than likely need the help of a wills solicitor to get you through the jargon and help you navigate your way through the matter. This can also cause further stress if you happen to have children which are not the biological children of your partner, and this may cause them to want rights to the money, which could end in a dispute resolution – causing even further stress on your family when they should only be worried about caring for you.

As is the case with many legal documents such as wills or prenuptials, this is something which is never at the forefront of our minds because we’re often too busy loving our lives with the love of our life. However, if you can think one step ahead and prepare for the moments when life not may be as easy – you will give yourself that extra peace of mind.

Therefore, it is important to look at all your options and make sure that you and your partner are fully protected should the worst happen.

Barrister fined by the ICO for failing to keep her client’s information secure.

You have by now more than likely read the story of the barrister fined by the ICO for failing to keep her client’s information secure.  I wonder how commonplace the same security carelessness is within her peer group, through insecure local file storage and/or sharing.  I don’t wish to scare-monger; rather I wish to make clear, that it does not have to be difficult to exercise good practice.  Remember it is your responsibility to look after your client’s data.

Firstly, ensure that any mobile device is encrypted to FIPS 140-2 standard.  There is specialist encryption software available on the market to purchase, however most new laptop machines nowadays come with FIPs compliant encryption built-in (just make sure you deploy it properly and save the key securely!)

Secondly, beware of ‘consumer’ file sharing applications as you often have little control over where the data resides and in the event of an account breach, it presents a huge risk of your files being compromised.

Lastly, (and this is a long term commercial consideration) move towards a private cloud solution as your business environment.  There are many things to consider when making the right choice of cloud solution and IT partner but holding your data in the cloud should mean you have access on the move to your files in a secure environment without the need to download locally.

Sprout IT can offer advice and assistance with all of the above and  IT security in general.  You can find more about encryption, secure file sharing and choosing the right cloud partner by clicking the links or contacting SproutIT on 020 7036 8530.

Legal IT Specialist & Bar Council Service Partner

Service|Responsibility|Excellence
info@sproutit.co.uk | sproutit.co.uk | Twitter | LinkedIn

 

Fiona has 15 years’ experience within the legal sector, supplying products and services in various client facing roles.  Focused on forging strong relationships with clients, she is passionate about providing excellent client service, gaining a deep understanding of customer needs and providing quality products and services to improve clients business environment.

 

Smarke – new app and hardware allowing you to share secure, scheduled access to your rental property – no key required

smarkeSmarke – new app and hardware allowing you to share secure, scheduled access to your rental property – no key required
Chantal Cooke

Smarke is the easiest way to share secure, scheduled access to your rental property with your guests – instantly and remotely. No key required.

After successful Beta trials Smarke is launching in the UK.  Smarke promises to completely change the way we give access to people entering our property – whether friends or rental clients. No more asking your mum to let your AirBnB client in because you are abroad – just use your smartphone and Smarke app.

With Smarke you can use your mobile phone to grant immediate access to your property – whether you are nearby or halfway around the world. Simply retro fit a Smarke lock (which is the same size as a standard Euro lock – so easy to fit) and download the mobile app.

The Smarke keyless entry app gives you full control. You decide when guests are able to check in and check out of your property – keeping the process secure, efficient and convenient. You grant access via the Smarke app to your guest‘s smartphone by specifying the dates and times of their visit. The guest can then grant access to other members of their party.

The Smarke app uses Bluetooth to unlock and lock the door, so there‘s no need to rely on potentially hackable Wi-Fi or a vulnerable internet connection. The device fits on any Euro Profile Cylinder lock. It takes just minutes to install.

Smarke is battery operated so there is nothing to wire or connect. When the battery is running low (it lasts up to six months), you are alerted via the app.

Smarke’s home access range currently consists of three products: a smart lock, an intercom solution, and a keypad. All these products are protected via military grade encryption – so you can relax in the knowledge that only people you have authorised can use it.

 

  1. The smart lock retrofits onto existing Euro-profile type locks. It sits on the inside of the door, so no one will know that you have Smarke installed on your door and you can still use a key on the outside. Installation is extremely simple, taking up less than five minutes of your time and requiring no drilling, wiring, or professional assistance. It is controlled via Bluetooth by the Smarke mobile app that allows the owner to lock and unlock the door when in range of the lock, while also allowing the lock owner to send scheduled access to family members, friends, and anyone that downloads the Smarke app on their smartphone.

 

  1. Smarke’s intercom solution is completely new to the market, and allows property owners in apartments, flats or gated communities to have a complete smart entry solution. Anyone with an existing intercom system can install the chip in their apartment, allowing you to access your building using no more than a code, while also being able to send a scheduled personalised code to others via the mobile app.

 

  1. The keypad controls the smart lock via Bluetooth. It sits discretely on the outside of the door, and offers users an alternative if they do not have their smartphones with them or their phone battery dies.

 

Smarke is developed and manufactured in the UK.

 

Smarke is designed to meet the needs of property managers, hosts and guests on platforms such as AirBnB and HomeAway. Smarke is also perfect for anyone who has ever been locked out, left their keys at the office, or constantly has to pat-down all their pockets before leaving a public place.

 

Smarke is currently running a rewards crowdfunding campaign that allows users to get their hands on Smarke’s products, at massively discounted rates, as soon as they are available.

 

Smarke’s solution is a game changer for those who offer holiday lets or part-time letting via platforms like AirBnB.

 

For more information see: http://www.smarke.com

And for the rewards campaign see: https://igg.me/at/smarke

 

About Smarke:

Smarke’s smart lock solution allows property managers, hosts and guests on platforms such as Airbnb and HomeAway, to share secure, scheduled access to their rental property with their guests – instantly and remotely, through the mobile app. No key required. http://www.smarke.com

 

Twitter: @sharingsmarke
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SharingSmarke/

Indiegogo: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/smarke-open-the-door-to-smart-access-smartphone-security#/