Breast Surgeon Under Investigation for Unnecessary Breast Cancer Surgeries

During the period 2004-2007 hundreds of women had undergone botched and unnecessary breast surgeries. The surgeon Ian Paterson is now under investigation by the police and could face criminal charges. He has been suspended by the General Medical Council and the main reason for that  is that he misdiagnosed at least 450 women with cancer and applied unnecessary surgery manipulations to remove lumps.

Paterson is a breast cancer specialist, who had worked for the NHS for almost 20 years – since 1994. The surgeries in question took place in different UK hospitals during the period  2004 – 2007. Now about 90 of his patients are submitting compensation claims against the Heart of England NHS Trust and Spire Healthcare, because of the unnecessary procedures they have gone through.

Besides being accused of removing lumps without being necessary, he is also investigated for performing a mastectomy procedure which is not sanctioned in the UK, called “cleavage sparing”. Excess breast tissue was left behind for cosmetic reasons, which is against national guidelines.

The solicitor on the claimant side stated his client had to undergo a second surgery in order to remove the excess tissue.

The national head of clinical negligence for Thompson Solicitors –Ms Kashmir Uppal said the case was the largest one she had ever dealt with. She also added: ”[These women] deserved the best medical care but have been let down by Mr Paterson.

“What we’re trying to do is secure some compensation for them to move forward with their lives.”

Spire Healthcare is working closely with the NHS Trust and the GMC on the investigation related to Mr Paterson practice.

A spokesman for the group said: “Supported by a team of independent consultant breast surgeons, we are reviewing the medical records of Ian Paterson’s patients who underwent specific procedures for benign (non-cancerous) breast conditions.”

You cannot protect your employees from the doctors, however you can find very useful Health and Safety Documents on our legal documents website.

Fathers Given Legal Rights To See Their Children

According to a new alteration to the law, absent fathers will be  given legal rights to see their children, with the exception of cases, where fathers might cause harm to them.

The alteration has been announced in a letter distributed to the MPs by Edward Timpson, Children`s minister. The letter claims that this move  has been required, as both parents should play a part of their children`s lives. The proposed changes will take effect in 2013 and have been met with controversy .

Although Fathers` rights campaign groups applauded this, the move caused wide discussions, as some legal experts questioned the need of such legal rights for the fathers and stood behind the position that this kind of law might place parental rights higher than the best interests of the children themselves.

Alan Beith, the Liberal Democrat chairman of the Parliamentary Justice committee, wrote to the Prime Minister over the summer warning that the proposal would “simply lead to confusion” and risked “undermining the central principal that the welfare of the child is paramount.”

A statement from the Law Society read: “The welfare of children must always come before the rights of parents and no legislation should create or point to a perception that there is an assumed parental right to substantially shared or equal time for both parents.

“While the government’s intention to promote co-operative parenting is welcomed, legislation to promote shared parenting is not needed. Current legislation adequately provides the right framework for securing a child’s welfare.”

However Minister Timpson opposed the claims and was confident about the new changes by saying:

“I know from my own experience practising as a family lawyer, that many separating couples feel the system is far too adversarial, with courts seen as creating ‘winners’ and ‘losers’. It is vital that both mothers and fathers feel confident that the court will consider fully the benefits of their involvement.”

In addition he said that there is a high demand of such a law, as currently there is no law recognising this issue, and the introduction of one would help to “restore confidence”. He said also that the time spent with the children for each parent will not be set by the legislation, but will be a matter of court decision.

According to a research, which was conducted at the beginning of the 2011 summer riots, revealed that 60% of the country`s most troubled families are headed only by a single mother, lacking a “male role model” in the child`s life.

If you need any help with custody and parental rights, do not hesitate to get a Fixed Fee Legal Advice. 

Female Executives Earn Less Than Male Executives

According to a survey carried out by CMI (Chartered Management Institute) female executives still earn less than the male ones. The gap defined by the survey is £10,060, which in  long-term means that women working on executive positions will earn earn £423,390 less than a male on a similar position. What is more, according t the survey, the bonuses awarded to men are much higher than those awarded to their female colleagues. However, the good news is that the gap has shrunk, compared to 2011, when the estimated amount was £10,564. On the other hand the Fawcett Society, a campaign group for pay equality, warned that the there is a possibility the expected cuts in the public sector might have a negative effect and make the gap wider.

Ceri Goddard, Chief Executive said their warning is based on the fact that when leaving the public sector, women will be forced to seek employment in the private sector, which has historically suffered a much larger pay gap – 20.4 per cent to the public sector’s 13.2 per cent.”

Ann Francke, chief executive for CMI, said “A lot of businesses have been focused on getting more women on boards but we’ve still got a lot to do on equal pay and equal representation in top executive roles.

“Women make up almost three out of four at the bottom of the ladder but only one out of four at the top.  This lack of a strong talent pipeline has to change, and fast.  Allowing these types of gender inequalities to continue is precisely the kind of bad management that we need to stamp out.”

She also called upon the government to take action by saying: “We need an immediate and collaborative approach to setting things straight. The Government should demand more transparency from companies on pay, naming and shaming organisations that are perpetuating inequality and celebrating those that achieve gender equality in the executive suite and the executive pay packet.”

At The Legal Stop, we know that no matter if male or female, every executive needs one and the same legal and busienss documents!

New Taskforce Identified 400 illegal Waste Sites

A new taskforce of the Environment Agency helps in identifying illegal waste sites. In just three months the taskforce managed to identify 400 new illegal waste sites, which makes a total of 1,195 in both England and Wales. The illegal waste sites were found to pose substantial risk to people`s health and the environment, with the worst of them polluting homes and schools with smoke from illegally burned materials.

The individual victims of the illegal waste sites complained that this issue has not been taken seriously by the authorities, that`s why this taskforce, including former police detectives was set up and received about £5m funding for the first two years.

During the period 2010/2011 the Environment Agency started over 400 waste-related prosecutions and over £1m has been recouped from those responsible through the Proceeds of Crime Act.

A great example, showing the seriousness of this issue is the case of  a man who was slapped with a two-year community service order and made to pay around £900,000 after operating an illegal waste site.

The agency’s chairman Lord Smith said: “The involvement of criminals in high-value waste crime is now a nationwide and worldwide challenge for enforcement agencies.”

Today, the environment Agency announced good news in another sector – serious pollution incidents from industry have fallen to their lowest level for over a decade. Another good thing revealed by the agency is that more businesses  are realising that growth and responsible environmental practices should go together.

The Environment Agency’s Sustainable Business Report also reveals that industry is continuing to cut waste and emissions to air.

Despite the good news, however there are still problem areas, because pollution incidents in the water and waste sectors increased last year.

Lord Smith gave a veiled message to government ministers looking towards deregulation: “Achieving both economic growth and the protection of the natural environment is not always easy but can be achieved.

“It will not happen without effective regulation of the impact business has on the environment and a commitment from businesses themselves to act as responsible neighbours and good corporate citizens.”

The Legal Stop also confirms the fact that the puplic concern, related to the environment has increased, as more and more businesses are eager to establish an Environmental Policy.

Living Wage Standard – Key Factor in Ed Miliband`s Campaign

A few days ago, The Legal Stop informed you about The Living Wage Discussions. now they are in the focus of the news again as the Labour leader – Ed Miliband declared that a minimum  living wage of about £7.45 (compared to the current £6.19) will be a key concept for his campaign

Of course, the employers will not be obliged to pay the minimum living wage, however Labour are working on developing strategies, which will encourage them to do so. Plans include government contracts only to firms, paying the living wage standard and the controversial idea of naming and shaming companies, which fail to pay their workers the minimum living wage. The living wage in London and the rest of the country is different , due to the high living costs in London. It would rise to about £8,55 per hour, according to the Labour plans.

“It is about giving people a proper stake in the future of the country,” explained Miliband.“You go out, slog your guts out… you deserve a decent wage if the company can afford it.“We’ve got a growth crisis in Britain, but we’ve also got a living standards crisis because the proceeds of economic growth are not being fairly distributed any more.”

There is a great benefit for the country, if employers pay the minimum living wage, people who work, but still get benefits will increase their income, which will help reduce the number of people, dependant by the state. An independent research by the Fiscal Studies estimated that the government will save £1,00 per year for each person receiving the minimum wage. Some companies have already applied for the for license to bear the Living Wage employer Mark. Up to now, The Living Wage Foundation has accredited almost 100 UK employers with the mark.


SRA with New Leniency Policy for Whistleblowers

According to new SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) proposals, whistleblowers, involved in misconduct will face lighter penalties.

A consultation on the introduction of co-operation agreements has been launched today by the SRA. According to those legal agreements, solicitors, who might have been involved in misconduct, but report  others` misconduct and help the investigation, will face lenient sanctions. This consultation will run until the 23rd of January.

The SRA intends to enter co-operation agreements not only with solicitors, but also witnesses, who may be facing regulatory difficulties. They will be required to disclose and report anything they know and even witness in court, if necessary. In return, their own conduct will be dealt as defined in the agreement.

The SRA plans, aiming to encourage people to disclose to the SRA , follow the example given by Financial Services Authority and their leniency scheme, which increased almost twice the calls to its whistleblowing line.

SRA director for legal and enforcement David Middleton said: ‘We anticipate cases in which potential witnesses who are worried about their own position will be more likely to come forward if there is potential certainty of regulatory outcome for them and an element of leniency consistent with the public interest.’

In addition Middleton said ‘Respondents to investigations are already aware that the early correction of problems and co-operating generally with us can significantly mitigate any failures on their part. ‘Earlier identification of problems could reduce the impact on clients and the compensation fund or insurers, so co-operation agreements would be another step forward in encouraging disclosure and co-operation.’

This aimed to underline that the proposed approach did not “water down” the requirements of the regulated community to report misconduct,

Whistleblowing can be useful for your business as well, please have a look at our Whitleblowing Policy.

Tougher Measures for Legal Aid Pay-backs

People on lower income who are accused of crimes are eligible for legal aid from the government to cover their costs for a solicitor. however, if they are found guilty, they are required to pay back the costs for the legal aid or part of them, depending on their financial situation. This aid has been assigned in order to ensure everyone has access to proper legal service, when accused of crime. However, it turned out that only one fifth of the costs have been paid back  by the criminals last year- just £1.8m out of £10 m.

That`s why the government is now working on tougher measures for debtors, refusing to pay back their legal aid costs, when found guilty. Hopefully the planned measures will have an effect and more criminals will pay back their legal aid debt. According to the plans the new measure will feature:

  • If criminals  refuse to provide the required financial information, for an assessment of how much they should pay pack, they will be assigned to pay the full amount of the legal aid received. This way, criminals will not be able to avoid actions against them, by simply not responding.
  • If someone is trying to deceive the system by claiming less earnings or assets, in order to pay lower amount, they will be entitled to pay an extra sum, in addition to their estimated pay back amount.
  • The government will be given more power to deal with the assets of the criminals, who refuse to pay back their legal aid costs.

Chris Grayling, justice Minister said:  ”These proposals set out robust measures that will see more costs recuperated from criminals.”It is not right that law-abiding citizens foot the bill when those concerned can pay.”

At the moment the MoJ is undertaking a consultation on the potential of the proposed measures, which is expected to end on the 11th of December.

At The Legal Stop, we are not eligible to fund any legal aid costs, however, we can provide a great legal service, offering you the highest quality legal documents at the lowest possible prices.

A Call to Employers – Do Consider Paying the Living Wage

The accounting company KPMG carried out a research, which revealed that 4.82 million people, working in the UK are paid less than the estimated minimum living wage, engaged with the quality of life. Due to this fact employers are advised to think about a possible wage increase in the near future.

The living wage is different than the minimum wage, which is required by law. It is a higher wage rate, which takes into consideration the general cost of living in the UK. this rate is different in London and the other parts of the UK, as in London it is 8.30, while for the rest of he UK it is less – 7.30.

The living wage is not a legal requirement, so employers are not obliged to pay it. However, those , who comply can apply for license to bear the Living Wage employer Mark. Up to now, The Living Wage Foundation has accredited almost 100 UK employers with the mark.

However, the research shows that 1 in 5 workers is learning much below the living wage, with bar staff, waiting staff and kitchen staff being at the bottom of the list.  It turned out that only 10% of the people, working in this industry earn above the living wage rate

The director of the Living Wage Foundation Rhys Moore said that earning the living wage “makes a huge difference to the quality of life of thousands of cleaners, caterers and security staff across the country.”

Marianne Fallon, head of corporate affairs at KPMG, added “Paying a living wage makes a huge difference to the individuals and their families and yet does not actually cost an employer much more.”

In addition, she mentioned the benefits businesses can get if paying the living wage. “We have found that the improved motivation and performance, and the lower leaver and absentee rate among staff in receipt of a living wage, means that the cost is offset.”

On the 4th of November begins the Living Wage Week, which is dedicated to call upon employers to increase the employees` wages for a better standard of life.

Together with paying the living wage, an employer will need a suitable employment contract for each of the employees.


Voting Rights For The UK Prisoners

Should prisoners be given the right to vote is the new question to be answered by the UK government. Back in 2005 the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that banning the prisoners from their voting rights was illegal, that`s why now the UK government is negotiating a solution suitable for both sides.

There are three options for the coalition – to comply with the ruling, to delay the decision or face a sustainable fine. It is thought that the government is now working on a draft bill, which will give voting rights to a limited number of prisoners. In addition, the decision is expected to be delayed until the end of November (which is the official deadline), as the police commissioner elections are due on 17th November.

At 2005, when this ruling has been announced by the ECHR, David Cameron said that it would make him “sick” to give prisoners any voting right. He also mentioned that in his opinion, this issue should be “a matter for Parliament”, but not  a foreign court”.

According to unnamed sources for Downing Street, the Prime Minister still believed that ” when people go to prison, they lose their right to vote”.

According to Tory backbencher Dominic Raab there is a minimal chance of fines, in case the UK does not comply with the ruling and no chance for the UK to be ejected from the EU Council

On the contrary according to Attorney General Dominic Grieve the UK must comply with the ECHR ruling or ” risk making itself a pariah state ”

However a government source told the BBC “It is completely untrue. It’s not happening. It’s complete nonsense.”

Which version is the correct one, will soon become clear, currently in the UK, only prisoners on remand are given voting rights.

At this stage we cannot discuss the prisoner rights to vote, however we believe that everyone must have the right to access our free legal documents.


Andy Smith Promotes the Use of Fake Personal Details Online

The Internet is a place where you never know who is on the opposite side The anonymity of Internet users is now being a controversial topic, as Andy Smith, head of internet security at the Cabinet Office, stated that according to him people should use only fake details – fake names, fake dates of birth, etc., in order to prevent them from cybercrime and unauthorised use of personal details. He said this will be a measure everyone must take, as otherwise your details “might be “used against you”.

At a conference in Whitehall, Mr. Smith suggested the idea of using fake detail on the Internet by saying it was a “very sensible thing to do”, when using sites other than the most trustworthy, such as government sites. He said: When you are putting information on social networking sites don’t put real combinations of information, because it can be used against you.”

“When you are interacting with government, or professional organisations – people who you know are going to protect your information – then obviously you are going to use the right stuff.”

On the one hand, Mr. Smith is completely right, however this statement provoked a very interesting discussion, as Labour MP and shadow culture minister Helen Goodman took the opposite position and called the advice given by Mr Smith to be “outrageous”.

She said for BBC that according to her Smith`s comments, at their very essence promote crime. “”It is exactly what we don’t want. We want more security online. It’s anonymity which facilitates cyber-bullying, the abuse of children.”I was genuinely shocked that a public official could say such a thing.”

In his defense Mr Smith said that nowadays fraudsters are gathering personal information from all sorts of places. These could be social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, online shops and many more. That`s why it is a good idea to provide fake details, otherwise the risk of personal details getting into the wrong hands, is too high/

Lord Erroll, chairman of the Digital Policy Alliance, supported Mr Smith`s advice and said that he has always entered 1 April 1900 as a date of birth. He commented on the Mrs Goodman critique by saying that her argument was not relevant as cyber bullying is a different issue and it should be dealt with great attention, where a variety of methods for uncovering bullies could be used.

Personal details are something, which should be kept secure in order to avoid any misuse or become a victim of “stolen identity”. Be careful not only on-line, but also off-line. Our legal documents can help you.