Give More Power to The Police To Increase Efficiency

The police will now be enabled with more powers, as they will be entitled to prosecute people on an extended list of offences without being necessary a state lawyer to be involved, said the Home Secretary Theresa May.

It has been announced that a greater number of offences will be taken to court by the police, without involving the Crown Prosecution Service, as this is considered to ” help the focus on fighting crime”

Currently, the police might take only minor cases to court. This involve traffic offences, such as speeding, driving without insurance or failing to provide a valid driving license. According to the new plans, they will be able to deal with those accused of driving without due care and attention, a variety of alcohol-related and public order crimes, and cases involving criminal damage with a value of less than £5,000.

All the cases, handled by the police, will go ahead only if the defendant has announced their intention to plead guilty. It has been estimated that this way, more than 90 000 offences could be prosecuted by the police alone annually. These measures are taken in order to increase the efficiency of their work.

This would mean that more than 50% of cases dealt with in Magistrates’ Courts would be handled by the police. Nine police forces are to run an initial test of the new powers, which will be rolled out if they are viewed as a success.

“Giving police more powers to prosecute offenders will slash unnecessary bureaucracy and deliver swifter justice for victims,” said  May on the changes. “I want us to be bold and imaginative about transforming policing and the wider criminal justice system to save time and money and deliver a better service for the public.

At The Legal Stop we aim to show you the news, together with useful legal documents for your business. We know it is of high importance to enable your business with all the required documentation, in order to avoid any troubles in future, that`s why we offer you the highest possible quality on the lowest possible price – download legal documents online.

Flight Delay Compensation Confirmed

Flight delay compensation has been confirmed by The European Court of justice. Passengers, who suffer a lengthy flight delays will now be able to receive a compensation from the airlines.

The original decision, allowing passengers to claim a compensation of up to €600, in case the flight is delayed with three or more hours is known as the Sturgeon ruling and exists since November 2009. This ruling was not convenient for the airlines, that`s why many of them, including British Airways, Lufthansa and EasyJet challenged the law.

However, today the court ruled on in favour of the current laws. Passengers are eligible to claim a compensation, when travelling from EU airports, as well as when travelling on a EU airline, with a final destination within the EU.

In addition to the compensation claims, the passengers suffering a flight delay are entitled to meals, phone calls and accommodation, if required. Everything should be funded by the airline.

The decision of the European Court will now open the door for the many flight delay compensation claims, which have been put on hold, after the airlines brought a legal challenge against the ruling.

The decision, enabling airline passengers to submit a flight delay compensation claim is considered to be fair, as a detailed research shows very few flights have an actual delay of three or more hours, in addition the airlines are protected by law in cases, where the delay was caused by “extraordinary circumstances”(it has been clarified that technical issues are nor considered “extraordinary circumstances”. What`s more the court ruled that passengers are only able to claim a compensation if they arrive at their destination with three or more hours delay, which means that it is completely possible to depart three hours later, but not being entitled to a compensation.

Everyone has experienced a delayed flight. We now that your time is precious, that`s why we strive to provide you with high quality legal documents, to save you time and money.

Claims Manager Fraud – Jail Sentence

It was recently announced that a claims managers has been sentenced to jail for 21 months. The claims manager has been reported to have made fraudulence claims for insurance.

Asif Mallu, the manager of a claims company, is said to have organized about 10 claims during the months between May and December in the year of 2005. Mr. Mallu has made more than £12,000 according to some sources. This money had come from referral fees of solicitors, courtesy car hire and also the necessary recovery of vehicles. Mr. Mallu was the claims manager for  24/7 Direct Claims Ltd in Bolton. He was also reported to be involved in a crime network, which also included Mohammed Patel, who in 2009 was convicted of deliberately causing about 90 collisions.

It was reported that Mr. patel earned his cash by driving cars that belong to people, who willingly chose to give up their key as well as insurance details. Based on the crime networking scheme, claimants would afterwards demand a compensation for both personal injuries and legal fees. All these expenses are as well covered by the insurers of the other party.

However, the well planned scam was exposed in 2005. The scam was reported by workers of a nearby office at the roundabout in Cheadle. What they noticed was that accidents happened regularly there, always at the same spot. Additionally, workers also noted that the collisions usually happened at a low speed and more often than not involved one and the same driver.

One of the insurance companies affected by the fraud, decided to examine the case. The insurance company presented its finding to Greater Manchester Police and an investigation began, i.e. Operation Contact. The chief inspector of the Greater Manchester Police said that Mr. Mallu’s claims company had been registered according to the terms of the Ministry of Justice. He also said that the company had a visible business in Bolton and that it served as ‘front for fraud’. The chief inspector additionally added that the scam had caused the victims to feel not only cheated, but also violated. The insurance companies involved had also reported that because of the scam, their premiums had increased. That is why, the idea of this sort of crime to be treated as victimless is not justified. As the director of law enforcement at a Bolton-based law firm, Mark Beales, said, the main person to be held responsible is Mr. Mallu as it is his company that allowed so many fraudulent claims to take place. Mr. Mallu has pleaded guilty of charges and as a result was obliged to pay a confiscation of the amount of £7,250 within 28 days.

After the Operation Contract was supported by the Infurance Fraud Bureau, it was reported that more than 50 people were convicted as a result.

Claims management is not in our expertise, however, this is not the case with legal and business documents management. At The Legal Stop, we can provide high quality document templates, as well as bespoke document drafting.

 

Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination in the Legal Sector

It was recently stated by the Law Society that about every one out of six solicitors has been bullied in a way in the workplace. The main exploratory findings of the society’s 2012 omnibus report suggest that about 17% of solicitors have been harassed at work. The survey reveals a whole tale of cases of workplace bullying, harassment and discrimination. Highest percentage has been reported by those working in government (25%) and those working in commerce and industry (23%). Complains in the private practice are said to be around 16%. More than 1,600 individuals have participated in the survey and about 6% of those people have said that they have experience sexual harassment in the workplace. Another 10% have reported that they have been discriminated. This 10% represents 168 people who have experienced any kind of discrimination white at work. According to the survey, about 64% or nearly two thirds have attributed this to their sex, about 20% attributed it to their ethnic origin, and 19% to their social class and status. Other issues mentioned as reasons for discrimination included things such as religion, pregnancy, any kind of disability and sexual orientation.

The report also surveyed people based on the level of stress in the workplace. Of those 1,600 people, only 5% have reported that they do not experience any stress at work or feel that the environment is hostile and negative. As much as 65% have reported that that do experience either moderate or severe levels of stress. Solicitors who experience extreme stress at work place have been reported to account for only 4%. Last but not least, the survey also revealed that over the past twelve months only about 2% of solicitors have taken time off because of stress.

All the findings from the survey have been presented to the Society’s membership. The report along with the analysis made will serve as a basis for the Society’s membership board to develop a strategy and promote the solicitors’ wellbeing in the workplace. Kate Walmsley, the Society’s corporate responsibility specialist, has written a paper to the members of the board expressing a concern on the preliminary findings of the survey. She stated that the tales of harassment, bullying and also discrimination are too high and actions need to be taken. Ms. Walmsley said that even though rates were not as high as in other sectors, steps have to be made in order to improve the working environment of the solicitors. A strategy needs to be made and to address the question of issues such as discrimination, abuse and sexual harassment. This, as stated by the CSR specialist, is of tremendous importance not only to the people working in the legal sector, but also for the need to reduce any financial and reputational costs both to the profession and to the Law Society as a whole.

In conclusion, don`t foreget to download our Anti-bullying and Harassment Policy. Protect you and your colleagues!

‘Intimidated by jargon’ Consumers Turn to The Legal Ombudsman for Help

A recent research has found that consumers from the legal services are inclined to make complaints to the Legal Ombudsman instead of turning to law firms. The researched has showed that the main reason why legal services customers turn to the Legal Ombudsman and not to law firms is due to the fact that consumers feel intimidated by the jargon. The recently published survey included more than 1,000 people. Those people have expressed their concerns and complaints to the ombudsman. The survey thus revealed that there are significant obstacles between legal services consumers and legal services providers. The main communication barriers are as a result of the language and legal jargon used in the correspondence between the two parties. The research has revealed that some defensive responses from legal firms for example could be read as ‘confrontational and threatening’. Consumers found it too hard to understand the language and felt that it was too intimidating. The miscommunication between the consumers and legal parties usually resulted in leaving customers angry. That is why; they would then turn to the Legal Ombudsman for clarification and support.

The research also revealed that consumers’ complaints have resulted in a direct contact with the ombudsman. Many of those clients have complained to the Legal Ombudsman without giving the legal party a chance to resolve the complaint of the consumer. These types of complaints have been referred to as a ‘premature complaint’ by the Legal Ombudsman.  About 63% of the legal services consumers have reported that they contacted the ombudsman directly because they feared that otherwise their complaints will not be either taken serious or resolved fairly quickly.

However, the survey also revealed that despite original disputes, dealing with complaints in a successful manner was in reality more likely to be recommended to other consumers by the aggrieved clients. The chair of the Legal Services Consumer Panel, Elizabeth Davies said that there is a reason why people don’t complain about the poor services offered by lawyers. As the report revealed, consumers are confused by the jargon used in the communication process, they are also uncertain what to do, and whom to turn to. Legal service consumers fear that nobody will pay much attention to their complaints and that in the end they will remain unresolved. Another fear is that in some cases the layer of the consumer might have repercussion on their case. The survey revealed that a quarter of those who complain have rated their experience as one out of ten. Additionally, even though some clients turned to the ombudsman for advice, most of the consumers were actually unsure of what role the ombudsman played in the process. Most of those clients expected that the Legal Ombudsman could actually ‘do something’ about their situation when in reality their expectations were not always fulfilled.

As Adam Sampson, the chief of Ombudsman, said lawyers need to make sure that complains of legal service consumers are taken seriously and into consideration. Lawyers can do more in order to ensure that complaints will be handled in a better way. A recent guide has been published by the ombudsman that is specially designed for lawyers in helping them handle complains in an efficient way.

 

Frankie Boyle Sues The Mirror

The Mirror should be more careful when calling someone “a racist”. The famous UK comedian Frankie Boyle takes a legal action against them, because in July 20122, the newspaper published an articles about him. starting with the following statement: “RACIST comedian Frankie Boyle could soon be returning to TV despite upsetting thousands of viewers”.

Mr. Boyle claims the articles seriously “libelled” him and attempted to damage his reputation. It is expected that the case, taking place in the High Court would last for a week.

Boyle’s lawyer David Sherborne said Boyle accepted criticism but could not tolerate to be labeled a racist, that`s why it is completely right to take legal actions in order to protect himself.”He realises that that goes with the territory, so to speak.”But accusing him of being a racist is an entirely different matter.”

In the court, some of the most controversial jokes told by Boyle were played, together with clips from his show Tramadol Nights. The jokes played included the Afganistan war and an impersonation of a newsreader reporting on casualties, suggesting British lives are more valuable than those of Pakistanis.

In order to protect his client, Boyle`s lawyer said that the jokes should be undestood in the context they are made hoped to demonstrate that the offensive language used is merely a device to mock the views of people he detests. “It is clear when you watch this that he [Boyle] is saying this is society’s view, not his. He makes it clear by using a different voice. What he’s doing is to mock the view of people who believe that.”

The Mirror says they stand behind the truth and fair comment and defend their article, claiming that some of the jokes featured on Tramadol Nights exploit various negative stereotypes “gratuitously for laughs”.

Together with racism accusations, Boyle also mentioned that because of this article, he was forced to leave the show Mock the Week.

Discrimination is a serious issue for every business, that`s why The Legal Stop offers you the Equal Opportunities Policy

Drug Possession Sanctions To Be Reduced – Recommends a UKDPC Report

New drug law to be considered, as the one, which is 40 years old no longer fits the purpose. The UK drug Policy commission is determined to review the current clauses and update them in accordance with the 21st century requirements.

A report called A Fresh Approach to Drugs has been published and the recommendations proposed by the UK drug policy commission are part of it.

The Fresh Approach to Drugs reviews the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act and concludes that back to the 1970s, when it was created, the drugs and their use were different than the new drug culture to an extend which requires full revision and low changes.“The Act was not designed to deal with such high levels of use nor the rapid development of new drugs.”

One of the aspects, where the changes have been propesed to take effect is the sanctions for drug possession. It raised many questions, due to its controversial nature – it recommended that some reductions in the sanctions for drug possession should be considered. According to the report, posessesion of small amounts of controlled substances for for personal use could be reduced to a civil matter, punishable by a fine or referral to a drug treatment programme.

“Given the experience of other countries, our assessment is that we do not believe this would materially alter the levels of use,” adds the report, “while allowing resources to be spent on more cost-effective measures to reduce harm associated with drug use.”

Another important point in the report is the recommendation for managing new and already working ways to help addicts and their families, as well as to find the stigma related to drug addiction “…tackling the damaging stigma towards people with drug problems will be vital to provide a foundation and then an environment in which recovery is possible.”

Although the UKDPC is passionate about it recommendations, the Home Office does not seem to be that enthusiastic about it.

A spokeswoman said ”While the Government welcomes the UKDPC’s contribution to the drugs debate we remain confident that our ambitious approach to tackling drugs – outlined in our Drugs Strategy – is the right one.

”Drug usage is at its lowest level since records began. Drug treatment completions are increasing and individuals are now significantly better placed to achieve recovery and live their lives free from drugs.”

At The Legal Stop, there willbe no sanctions for anyone, who seems to be addicted to our high quality legal documents. Take care of your business now, celebrate later.

 

Christmas is Near – Do the E-shops Comply

Online retailers have been warned by The Office of Fair Trading to make sure their on-line stores are in compliance with the consumer protection laws. The measures should be taken, in order to prevent problems during the Christmas holidays.

The most popular websites for on-line sales have been checked by the OFT and it turned out that 62 e-shops out of 156 might not be compliant.

The main reasons why some of the websites fail include adding extra charges at the end of the checkout process, as well as not clear refunds policy, especially including unreasonable restrictions.

The owners of the incompliant investigated websites have been warned to make the necessary changes in order to provide easier, smoother and clearer shopping process through the website, before the Christmas season, when the sales increase significantly. The e-shops, which fail to comply will face “formal enforcement action” or in other words serious sanctions.

E-shops were also checked for their compliance with the Distance Selling Regulations. Most of the websites have a clear policy and comply with the regulations, however there was some controversy about one of the points included in the returns policy. Some of the websites tell the customers that refunds are given only if the product is in its original condition and packing, which is against the consumer`s rights to check and test their goods. Another common violation is the fact that there are no contact details or they are not clearly shown to the customer.

The senior director of the goods and consumer group of the OFT -Mr Cavendish Elithorn said: “The OFT recognises that most businesses want to play fair with their customers and to comply with the law. “We encourage all online retailers to check their websites so customers can be confident their rights are being respected when they shop online.”

According to the statistics, last Christmas Britain spent over £8 billion on buying Christmas presents online. There are some estimations that the e-shopping forms about a tenth of all the shopping in the UK.

As you can see, Christmas is near, so why don`t you think to buy yourself a Christmas present from The Legal Stop. How about a full pack of Employment documents for only £30.00?

£84,000 Inheritance Kept In Secret For Pampering Cats

It was recently announced a case of woman who spent her inheritance of £84,000 on pampering her cats. It also became apparent that she was cleared of any charges regarding benefit fraud. Marlene Howes admitted that she kept her entire inheritance in secret and she did spend the money on her cats. Between 2005 and 2011, she has claimed an overall amount of £22,000 in pension credits as well as council tax benefits. The charges against the 67 year old woman were taken off after Judge Bopa-Rai listened to the story of Mrs. Howes and found nothing dishonest in her actions.

Marlene Howes said that it was her mother’s idea to use the money for the cats. Apparently, Barbara Sutton advised her daughter to put the money towards taking care of her 14 Persian cat in order to provide the kittens with “the best of everything”. In Gloucester Magistrates’ Court, Judge Joti Bopa-Rai cleared Mrs Howes of the charges and claimed her not guilty after he carefully assessed her bank statements. He saw that all the money from the heritage were indeed spent on the cats. Mrs. Howes said that all her mother wanted was for the money from selling her property to be used for looking after and taking care of her animals. Mrs. Howes agreed to take care of the animals under the conditions stated. Barbara Sutton expressed her will verbally and she has not included this in her will in writing. It was stated to the court that Mrs. Howes took her mother’s kittens in her home where she ended up with 25 Persian cats. At this point, Marlene set up a bank account, put the funds in and used them only for buying food, litter and vet bills necessary for the cats. According to the bank statements, she spent around £180 for taking care of the animals. The amount spent on vet bills overall was as much as £30,000. Another thing she used the money for is to buy the 24 Persian kittens a conservatory. Mrs. Howes claimed that this had to provide the animals with more living space and make the life of all 25 as good as her mother insisted.

Jon Holmes, Marlene Howes’ solicitor, defended her by saying that her client only carried about her mother’s wishes. Mrs. Howes did not use the money for her own or any other purposes. Marlene herself said to the court that she never regarded the money as her own. It is therefore why Judge Bopa-Rai cleared Mrs. Howes of benefit fraud. Judge Bopa-Rai found the defended credible. He also stated that Mrs. Howes did not do anything wrong or dishonest in her mind. The judge accepts the fact she only kept the money in secret because after all she was indeed fulfilling her mother’s last wishes and non of the money from the inheritance was spent towards anything else but taking care of the kittens.

At The Legal Stop, we don`t have any cats, but we can help you with our bespoke document drafting service and help you make your will.

Criminal Reaccreditation Plan Deferred

It was recently announced that the Law society place criminal reaccreditation plan on hold for now. The scheme regards reaccreditation of criminal solicitors every five years after a consultation with the profession has been conducted.

After a consultation in April, the Society has made a plan proposing that all members of the Criminal Litigation Accreditation Scheme (CLAS) will be expected to undergo a check every five years. This is said to confirm that all them have taken and completed the required six hours of the CDP and have paid the £240 fee as stated. However, Chancery Lane has announced that the deadline for the implementation of the plan is postponed. It also stated that those CLAS members, who have a membership for over a five-year period and who are due to reaccredit, will get their membership with an extended deadline until 30 June 2013. It further announced that members do not have to do anything in order to get their membership extension, because this will be done automatically and all membership records will be updated respectively.

A spokesperson from the Law Society explained that the Society has decided to postpone the compulsory reaccreditation scheme for the CLAS with regard to comments from members. The plan will be put on hold in order for the Society to insure that proper account is taken on initiatives such as the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA). It is highly unlikely that the QASA will replace CLAS. QASA is said to cover only advocacy while CLAS deals with wider aspects on criminal litigation. Nevertheless, it is important to understand how both interact and to know which one to use in a certain case.

In order to obtain a criminal litigation accreditation, members will have to prove to the Law Society that they maintain a high degree of knowledge as well as skills. They also have to show through external examination that they have the experience and practice necessary in criminal law work. The Criminal reaccreditation scheme is set to enable both solicitors and followers of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives to have the qualification to apply for inclusion on local duty solicitor rotas. This will be executed under the the Legal Services Commission’s criminal defence service duty solicitor arrangements 2001.

President John Wotton said that that ‘a scheme that is meant to be an indicator of quality cannot be credible in the modern world if those who are accredited are not reassessed regularly to ensure that they remain competent and up to date’.  Even though that at present there is no reaccreditation, it is important to ensure that the new plan will enforce a balanced scheme so that unnecessary burdens on practitioners will be avoided. After all, the point of the plan is not to ‘create obstacle’, but to help criminal solicitors boost their credentials. The criminal reaccreditation scheme is said to help criminal solicitors stay up to date with the knowledge and qualification s necessary to practice criminal law work.

The Legal Stop does not deal with criminal litigation, but we are one of the main resources used by the criminal solicitors when it comes to high quality legal and business documents at a very good price.