Royal Character for the New Press Regulator

The Conservatives are proposed to set out plans for new press regulator.

There was a proposal by Lord Justice Leveson that a new system be underpinned by statute but the Prime Minister David Cameron rejected it.

A “recognition body” is expected to be set up in order to observe if the new press regulator works in the way it has to.

After the recent phone-hacking scandal Lord Justice Levenson wrote a report in which he talked about an independent self-regulatory watchdog for the press.

The Liberal Democrats supported that plan.

David Cameron, on the other hand, said a bill is not needed so that it sets up the new regime but that the Conservatives should admit that royal charter is the best way for backing of any new press regulator.

These royal characters are documents establishing the terms of organizations and the only way they could be changed is with the approval of the government.

According to the correspondent of BBC, Torin Douglas, the Conservatives do consider this legislation as neither necessary nor desirable.

But Labour said that a royal charter could put too much power in government hands.

The director of the campaign group, Brian Cathcart, said he had not quite well examined the details but he believed that Mr. Cameron had “compromised” with the press.

At a conference in Westminster he said: “Our firm view is that it (the Royal Charter) has to be completely Leveson compliant and utterly crystal clear. On that we had no reassurance from the prime minister.

“The prime minister was not reassuring about the idea that this body would be appointed in a transparent and independent way. He was not reassuring on the legal status of this charter. He gave us no encouragement to believe it would have underpinning in statute.”

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Lack of Cyber-Crime Fighters in the UK

According to a cyber security report by the National Audit Office, the UK is not equipped well enough to defend cyber-crime in the next 20 years, because of a lack of skilled cyber-crime specialists, who will be able to fight them.

The report claims the lack is a result of not promoting computer science and technology  subjects enough in schools, which means very few students are eager to study these subjects at university. The estimated cyber crime costs at the UK are £27 billion per year, in spite of the fact that there is a significant progress to tackle online fraud.

The NAO considers that effective measures should be taken, so educator would put more effort than simply instilling potential cyber crime fighters with the technical know-how to protect UK systems “…there is also a need for psychologists; law enforcers; corporate strategists and risk managers. Other professionals such as lawyers and accountants also need to understand cyber security in order to assess, manage and mitigate the business risk of cyber threats.”

Although the report is full of dire warnings related to the UK cyber security, it has been found that the government  was looking into overhauling the ICT curriculum to produce future cyber crime fighters. “It expects cyber security to be a strong strand of the future GCSE computer science syllabus.” in addition, the government has already taken some essential steps to strengthen UK`s cyber security. This includes the implementation of the National Cyber Security Programme by 2015, to which the government has committed £650 million.

According to the report 36 sites, selling credit card details and bank accounts have been closed down in 2012 by the Serious Organised Crime Agency. By doing so , £500 million worth of international fraud has been prevented.

“The threat to cyber security is persistent and continually evolving. Business, government and the public must constantly be alert to the level of risk if they are to succeed in detecting and resisting the threat of cyber attack,” said Amyas Morse from the National Audit Office.

“It is good that the Government has articulated what success would look like at the end of the programme. It is crucial, in addition, that progress towards that point is in some form capable of being measured and value for money assessed.”

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Barclays Misled about its Investor

It turns out that Barclays lied about one of the biggest investments in the history of banks.

An investigation of BBC found that Barclays had managed to avoid bailout by British tax payers not because of the money given from the Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour, as it was announced, but with money given from the Abu Dhabi government.

In 2008, the gulf states of Qatar and Abu Dhabi gave most of the money needed for the rescue of Barclays.

Barclays had to tell the shareholders that there was a possibility that the investor might change but it did not and when some hours later the change happened Barclays said that Sheikh Mansour “has arranged for his investment…to be funded by an Abu Dhabi governmental investment vehicle, which will become the indirect shareholder”.

In the reports from 2008 and 2009, Sheikh Mansour was identified as the investor.

The explanation Barclay gave was that the mistake in its accounts was “simply a drafting error”.

According to the expert of financial regulation in the City, Professor Alistair Milne, banks are obliged to give correct information on its bigger deals.

Barclays mentioned that the Abu Dhabi government gave the funding some six months after the deal.

In fact, Sheikh Mansour gave none of his own money for Barclays, but the company he controlled was initially issued warrants to buy 758 million shares in the bank.

The lawyer for Transparency International said:

“You have to worry not because Sheikh Mansour may or may not be doing something wrong, you have to worry because you may be doing something wrong as a bank.

“You may be committing a crime, you may be paying a bribe if you have not got it straight as to which capacity the person you are dealing with is acting.”

There is no way that people find out who benefited from the warrants, because the transactions happened abroad, but all the 758 million shares were sold at price significantly below the market price.

The response of the bank was that “The Board of Barclays took the decision on capital raising in 2008 on the basis of the best interest of shareholder and its other stakeholders, including UK taxpayers”.

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Fall In Overdose Deaths after Changes in Law

After the law has changed and the number of paracetamol tablets in a single pack was decreased it was proven that this influenced the deaths caused by overdose and they fell with about 43%.

In 1998 the government restricted the sizes of pack sizes to 32 tablets in pharmacies and 16 in other outlets.

In the British Medical Journal there is a study of the Oxford University that examines the years of 1993 and 2009 and shows the number of the cases of deaths related to paracetamol overdose. The result is far better that expected. The number of such deaths fell rapidly after the legislation was introduced.

Even when people do not die after they have overdosed with paracetamol in most of the cases they do need liver transplants. These cases also became fewer.

According to professor Keith Hawton, lead researcher for the University of Oxford Centre for Suicide Research, many lives were saved with the because of these changes in the law.

“While some of this effect could have been due to improved hospital management of paracetamol overdoses, we believe that this has in large part been due to the introduction of the legislation.

“We are extremely pleased that this measure has had such benefits, but think that more needs to be done to reduce the toll of deaths from this cause.”

On the other hand, researchers prefer not to be too complacent, saying that despite of the fact that the number of deaths caused by paracetamol overdose has declined, the number of people taking overdose has not.

The victims of paracetamol overdosing every year are about 120.

In the words of professor Hawton things will change only if the pack size is being lowered more and the paracetamol content of the tablets is being reduced.

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Dominic Grieve about the ‘trial by Google’

Dominic Grieve warned over the effect of modern technology on the system of trial by jury.

He mentioned that nobody could nowadays be sure that the decisions of jurors on their verdicts are based on real facts because most of them do believe in the information they find on the Internet which in most of the times turns out to be incorrect and misleading.

The phenomenon called “trial by Google” may damage the principle of open justice as it may easily change the opinions of jurors.

“It should be clear to the defendant, the public, the victim and the prosecution what the evidence in the case is,” said Grieve. “If a jury is exposed to prejudicial material which, for whatever reason, is not before the court, the basis on which the defendant is convicted or acquitted will never be known.”

Grieve also said that the age of the Internet where every person is on one click away from the information he or she needs, ruins the principle due to which any evidence has to be perused on certain rules when it is under consideration.

According to him, jurors are ready to believe in information found on the web and presented out of context.

Another thing he mentioned as important is that the law strictly forbids a case to be researched outside the court. With reference to this status Dominic Grieve said that jurors may be turned into criminals as they search everything in the Internet and do it every day.

However, it is a fact that there are jurors who faced prison sentences because of this.

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Ministry of Justice Called “Shambolic”

MPs called the government department “shambolic” because of the contract for court language services in England and Wales.

The Commons justice committee said that the Ministry of Justice had no fears that the things would change with this contract and the standards would fall.

According to ministers the initial problems were followed by “dramatic improvements”. This contract began functioning in early 2012.

As a result all the translation and interpreter services for victims, witnesses and defendants instantly ran into difficulties.

The answer of the committee is that the Ministry of Justice was not well prepared on the complexity of court interpreting and translation work.

“The Ministry of Justice’s handling of the outsourcing of court interpreting services has been nothing short of shambolic,” committee chairman Sir Alan Beith said.

This happened because the MoJ did not have an objective vision on the needs of courts and did not listen to the warnings of the professionals who wanted to help them provide quality interpreting services.

Now MoJ is about to launch a far-reaching competitive process for probation services.

The government department had to listen to the warnings about the complexity of this kind of work before it decided to sign the five-year deal with Applied Language Solutions.

MPs believe the department may have instructed court staff not to co-operate with its inquiry because it was contemptuous of Parliament.

Helen Grant said that at the start of the contract there had been “significant” issues but later, “swift and robust action” had led to “dramatic improvements”.

She also said: “The changes we have made have led to major savings for taxpayers, totalling £15m in the first year, and we continue to monitor the contract on a daily basis and demand continuing progress.”

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Lessons on Safety Internet for Infants

Five-year-olds have to be given lessons on the safety use of internet. This has to be done because children are exposed to online dangers every day.

There are assemblies in each of the UK primary schools giving children information about the digital age and the dangers it hides.

Claire Lilley, of the NSPCC, said: “We are facing an e-safety time bomb.”

Some 3,745 calls were received last year at ChildLine reporting about abuse via internet and mobile phones.

The cases of children pornography have increases with about 70%.

The NSPCC warns that not only parents but also schools need to struggle with the problem.

It appeals on lessons in every school about the usage of internet, giving young people tips on their safety online surfing.

Its another demand is that internet providers should provide easy systems which give parents the possibility to install filters and online blocks at home.

Experts, on the other hand, talk against blanket filtering of the internet. Phil Bradley, of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, said that this filtering may have unintended consequences. According to him the main factor which may influence children are their parents and the advice they give them.

.”When it comes to the internet… children need to learn how to use it safely and how to differentiate the good from the bad.”

“Just as parents would teach their children to cross the road safely, they should also help them learn how to stay safe online.

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DPP Warns Against Threat To Free Speech Of Twitter Prosecutions

As recent figures show that the number of crimes involving Facebook and Twitter has increased  too much, Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions, came out with a speech warning about the “chilling effect” of the online freedom.

The number of people charged for offenses committed on such sites in 2012 is 650.

In December the very same Mr. Starmer issued new guidelines for crimes committed via social media.

These guidelines may help in cases when things are not exactly clear and do not warrant a really serious response.

According to Mr. Starmer the roles of Twitter and Facebook have changed a lot and the things people say and write there may have serious consequences.

In his words offensive tweets which later turn into crimes need to be set very high. “There’s a lot of stuff out there that is highly offensive that is put out on a spontaneous basis that is quite often taken down pretty quickly and the view is that those sort of remarks don’t necessarily need to be prosecuted.

“I think that if there are too many investigations and too many cases coming to court then that can have a chilling effect for free speech.”

He also said that in the cases when a person deleted offensive comments and apologized, he or she would not need a criminal prosecution.

Now Mr. Starmer’s guidelines do undergo a three month consultation.

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Distribution Agreements

A Distribution Agreement is a legal contract between a Supplier (generally a manufacturer) that supplies goods and/or services to another party, the Distributor, for resale in a specified territory. Basically, the Supplier wishes to have its products distributed and the Distributor’s role is to develop the largest possible market for a product through distribution, sales and marketing activities.

A well written Distribution Agreement regulates the relationship between the parties; it should be comprehensive and balanced in that it sets out the rights and obligations of the parties and protects the interests of both parties.

Distribution Agreements may be exclusive or non-exclusive. In an exclusive distribution agreement the distributor will be the only person permitted to distribute the products/services in the territory. Conversely, in a non-exclusive distribution agreement the distributor might be one of several distributors in the same territory.

Distribution Agreements must be carefully drafted to take into account what the parties are trying to achieve and the implications of competition law and other regulations that can have severe penalties.

Key elements to be considered include:

  • The territory covered
  • Non-exclusivity or exclusivity
  • Non-compete obligations
  • Responsibilities of the parties in terms of promoting, selling and distributing the products/services
  • Intellectual property
  • Terms and conditions of sale
  • Confidential information
  • Circumstances in which the agreement may be terminated
  • Consequences of termination

Please note that you can give a distributor exclusive rights to a particular territory, however, under competition law you may not be able to give the distributor exclusive rights and at the same time prevent the distributor from selling competing products.

You can stop a distributor selling competing products provided you do not have ‘selective distribution’ or have a market share of over 30%. However, the restriction on selling competing products must not be indefinite or last more than five years.

You have ‘selective distribution’ if you deliberately limit the number of distributors, or require distributors to meet particular qualifying criteria. ‘Selective distribution’ has implications under competition law. In particular, it is illegal to prevent selective distributors from selling competing products.

You can stop a distributor selling outside the territory if your share of the market on which it supplies the relevant goods or services does not exceed 30%.  If you have a market share of over 30% then you cannot.

Furthermore, a distribution agreement cannot restrict passive sales i.e. if a customer approaches the distributor then the distributor should be free to sell to that customer even if it is outside the territory.

Finally, please note that you cannot control the prices a distributor charges their customers for the products/services as it would be a breach of competition law.

The Legal Stop provides several services including fixed fee legal document drafting where you will be able to obtain a distribution agreement specifically tailored to meet your needs. In addition we also offer downloadable distribution agreement templates, our templates are:

Our distribution agreement templates are suitable for use in the UK or abroad where the parties to the agreement are individuals or businesses, and can be used for sale and promotion of goods and/or services. They are flexible and can be adapted to suit specific needs of the parties.

The templates are intended to satisfy the requirements of the EU and UK competition law rules affecting “vertical restraints”. They are drafted on the assumption that the supplier’s share of the market on which it supplies the relevant goods or services does not exceed 30%; the purchaser’s share of the market on which it buys those goods or services does not exceed 30%, and the distributor does not compete with the supplier in the production or manufacture of the products covered by the distribution agreement.

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Fake CCTV Showed in Court

Trying to avoid a speeding conviction a driver from Plymouth has been caught using a fake CCTV footage as evidence. The video was announced fake after a serious check proving that the shadows seen there were not typical for February.

The 44 years-old Roger Moore was caught driving at 51mph in a 40mph zone.

On the other hand, he claimed that he was not driving this car as he had already got his own one and that the garage set him up.

As the case was brought to court Mr. Moore gave the court a personal CCTV footage showing him driving his Mitsubishi in front of the house. The exact time and date were stamped there so he tried to prove he was not guilty on the speeding he was accused of.

Unfortunately some experts found out that the video was made about five months later because “the shadows cast across his drive equated with July 2011 rather than February 2011″.

The penalty about such speeding offense a mere £60 fine and three penalty points and now Roger was slapped with a 16-week jail sentence, suspended for two years and £2,000.

The Crown Prosecution Service thanked to the police investigators because they had managed to prove that the footage was false.

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