New Laws To Slash Cost Of Calling Company Complaint Lines

From next summer on new legislation will put limitations on the amount of money customers could be charged for calling telephone numbers regarding complaints and enquiries about products they have bought.

From the 13th of June 2014, companies will not be able to charge the calls of their customers in a way they want but will have to take into consideration the rate for a call to a mobile phone or a local landline number.

The changes come as part of the local implementation of the European Consumer Rights.

Ofcom figures point out that nowadays such a call may cost you from 12p to 41p on a mobile phone, or from 1p to to 13p on a landline.

The numbers covered by these statistics are 0843, 0844, 0845 and 0870.

Companies that currently earn money because of these prefixes are around 30,000.Together with the new requirements for the telephone lines, some corporate legal documents might be required.

The aim of the new legislation is to make sure people would not stop expressing their disappointment only because of the high phone charges.

In case customers call in order to make an initial purchase of products or services, companies would still have the right to charge them higher.

Consumer affairs minister Jo Swinson wrote that in her view these changes would make consumers feel more confident and at the same time would supports new businesses.

“Taken together with the Consumer Rights Bill I believe this legislative reform represents a great and important opportunity to benefit consumers, businesses and provide the right framework for a stronger economy,” she said.

 

Minimum alcohol pricing: Five countries oppose Scottish drink plan

The plans of Scotland for minimum alcohol pricing were opposed by five European wine-producing nations.

France, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Bulgaria shared their opinion that such changes may turn out to be devastating on spirits industry. According to them such reforms would breach European free trade law.By the way, do you have our Alcohol and Drug policy.

However, Scottish government called the minimum pricing- “perfectly legal”.

Only Irish , out of 12 countries that have expressed their views, claims they have nothing against the minimum pricing.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), spiritsEUROPE and the Comité Européen des Entreprises Vins have already challenged in court the legality of the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Act.

The beginning was not hopeful- on 3 May the Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled that the minimum pricing law was legal. But SWA does not stop with its appeals against that decision.

An SWA spokeswoman said: “The Scottish Court of Session failed to give any consideration to the effect of minimum unit pricing on producers in other European Union member states.”

According to a senior Scottish government source the minimum price would not be applied within the next 12 months.

If the proposal is accepted a bottle of wine in Scotland with an alcoholic strength of 12.5% would cost at least £4.69.

Ministers stated that alcohol abuse problem will be solved to some extent with this law on the minimum price of alcohol.

Scottish Health Secretary Alex Neil had many difficulties in persuading most of the EU member states that this law needed to be accepted.

Portuguese claimed this minimum pricing would be disastrous for many of the companies in the sector.

Lisbon considered such a law a discriminatory one because British manufacturers had higher production costs and higher prices than continental European wine-producers.

France pointed out that “the average price of a bottle of wine produced in the United Kingdom is higher than the average price of imported wine”.

Bulgaria said wine and spirit producers will have to face many obstacles.

Spain and Italy shared the views of the other countries opposing the law.

 

UK Courtrooms Will Go Completely Digital By 2016

By 2016 nobody in the UK courtrooms will use papers anymore as this is considered outdated. The plan of the government is to make everything digital. The Legal Stop favours the idea and provides legal documents online, which you can simply download to your computer and use in digital format.

Courts will have their own secure wi-fi networks so that they may easily find any document they need. Evidence and documents used during trials will be displayed on digital monitors.

Police officers will also stop bringing notebooks with them as they will get mobile devices.

The amount the government will spend on these changes is £160 million.

The first court which has now been trying this new concept is the Birmingham Magistrates Court. From March until now it has dealt with 80 cases.

The changes should soon start functioning throughout whole England and Wales. The expected results are that this would improve the work of different courts.

Justice minister Damien Green has to announce the plans today in a speech at the Policy Exchange.

He started his speech mentioning that each year courts use 160 million sheets of paper.

“Stacked up this would be the same as 15 Mount Snowdons – literally mountains of paper. If we are to win in the global race this must change,” said Mr Green. “It is time we move the court system into the 21st Century.”

In his opinion courts would function in a qualitative way only when they got rid of the old system and became more modern.

On the other hand, many lawyers are uneasy with this new system saying that if an eventual system crash happens they would not lose a single file but all the documents of the court may disappear.

 

Attorney General Urges Supreme Court to Reject Prisoners’ Right to Vote

Attorney General Dominic Grieve stated again that he still believes prisoners should not take part in the elections giving their votes.

The current UK law and legal documents says that only prisoners on remand are allowed to vote but two prisoners serving life-sentences brought a case fighting for their rights claiming they wanted to take an active part in the elections.

If the Supreme Court rules in favour of Chester and McGeoch, this will put the end of the ban in the UK preventing prisoners from voting.

The High Court has already rejected a similar appeal brought by Chester in 2009.

The opinion of Dominic Grieve is that the UK Supreme Court needn’t follow the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights according to which each nation could take their own decision if prisoners should be allowed to vote or not.

“This court is entitled to take its own course and should do so where it has sufficient doubt about the soundness of the reasoning adopted by the European court of human rights,” he told yesterday.

In his words, these cases appear to raise interesting constitutional questions.

Last November the government published the Voting Eligibility (Prisoners) Bill. It proposed two alternatives- the first one says that prisoners sentenced four or more years in jail should be banned voting and the other says those sentences to 6 months or more should also be banned.

In October, David Cameron stated that this government would definitely not allow the prisoners to vote.

On the other hand, the mother of the girl killed by Peter Chester accused him of wasting taxpayer money.

“Where were my human rights?” she asked. “Where were Donna’s human rights?”

 

Legal aid plans: Defendants ‘will lose right to choose’

Figures show that taxpayers give about £2bn every year on legal aid as more than half of it is spend on criminal defence. Recently ministers announced that due to their latest plans the annual criminal legal aid budget in England and Wales would be cut with £220m.

The defendants will no longer have the right to choose a solicitor and this would reflect to those people who needed lawyers with specialist expertise. It is not the same with people, who need document drafting.

Ministers stated that the right to a fair trial would not be affected and called for bigger organisations to stop providing legal aid.

When the changes do happen providers of legal aid would have to bid for contracts; defendants whose income is larger than £37,500 would not have automatic access to legal aid; prisoners will have difficulties when trying to complain against the prison system.

Sir Anthony, who retired as a Court of Appeal judge last year, said the plans had serious lapses mentioning that for the future a defendant would be “allocated a firm of solicitors, a lawyer or a corporate provider like Eddie Stobart, or whoever it may be”, not being able to choose such a lawyer who would be well-aware of their cases and needs.

The Ministry of Justice received a response of 150 pages from the Bar Council.

Maura McGowan QC, chairperson of the Bar Council, expressed her opinion claiming that nowadays the whole world admired the current justice system and for the future money would mean everything.

“PCT may look as though it achieves short-term savings, but it is a blunt instrument that will leave deep scars on our justice system for far longer.”

The Association of Prison Lawyers added that many important matters such as the separation of mothers and babies for example, would not receive any funding.

Soon the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act removed legal aid from many areas of civil law were removed.

 

HMRC to Miss Tax Credit Fraud Target, says PAC

In 2010 the government challenged HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to cut fraud and error by £8bn by 2015. The predictions of the Public Accounts Committee point out that the sum will be reduced by £3bn. Can you imagine how many legal documents you can buy with this amount of money?

A new point in the tax credit system proposes that parents returning to work should get financial support.

There will be a complex system taking into account age, income, hours worked, number and age of children, childcare costs and disabilities, which will allow low-income families, apply for tax credits. HMRC has to be aware of the changes in family circumstances.

It turns out that the claimant cannot totally understand the system and HMRC has many problems with its administration.

The results from the latest figures show that one in five awards featured an error or fraud; £1.7bn of these overpayments was written off because claimants did not intend to pay it; in 2010-11- £2.3bn was lost to fraud and error; the 2015 target will be missed by £5bn.

The committee advised HMRC to improve the information it gives to claimants in letters and through its helpline, and also check more carefully the information received back.

This increased the number of checks made by HMRC and respectively the number of appeals after payments were reduced or cancelled.

Many experienced financial hardship due to delays of six to eight months.

A spokesman for HMRC said that extra checks had saved £390m and helped the accurate usage of information.

“We are also getting tougher with claimants about the proof they need to support their claims; for example on childcare costs and on school leavers,” he said.

 

The Queen’s Speech 2013: Government And Law

In yesterday’s speech the Queen talked about her government’s plan for the coming year, mentioning some bills and draft bills which are still not entirely introduced.

The aim of these bills is to reduce criminal offenses, such as the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill.

The last one is considered to renew police powers and emphasize on the rights of victims, telling them the proper ways that their perpetrators will be punished.The same is the case with the employment law and the employment documents.

Some new offenses will also be included in the bill. Some of them are the offenses for forced marriage, ownership of dangerous dogs and illegal firearms. Another thing which will change is that after police receives complaints from five different households on anti-social behaviour, it will have to act immediately.

Another bill the Queen talked about was the Offender Rehabilitation Bill the aim of which is reducing incidents of re-offending as there will be a year-long period of probation for any offender who serves a custodial sentence of fewer than 12 months. Nowadays, offenders with the same sentence as the mentioned one do not receive probationary period. Those offenders whose sentences are now between 1-2 years receive probation period lasting about 6 months and for the future they will also receive 12 months.

The Defence Reform Bill also appeared in the speech of the Queen. It has to “improve the way this country procures defence equipment, as well as strengthening the Reserve Forces”.

According to the government the size of the UK’s reserve forces needs to be increased so that more money could be saved. You can save money by using legal document templates,too.

Talking about the pensions system her Majesty said that new laws will “create a simpler state pension system that encourages saving and provides more help to those who have spent years caring for children”.

 

 

 

Prisoners ‘must work harder’ for Privileges

The government announced that male prisoners in England and Wales have to work harder in order to have access to different privileges such as TVs in cells.

During their first two weeks in jail they will have to wear a uniform and will not be allowed to call home.

Some private prisons now do have satellite and cable TV channels but for the future these will be banned everywhere.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: “I want the arrival in prison for the first time to be an experience that is not one they’d want to repeat.” However, if you buy legal documents online from The Legal Stop, we are sure you will definitely repeat.

Other changes to the Incentives and Earned Privileges (IEP) schemes from November will include:

  • A longer working day
  • Films with an 18 certificate will be banned
  • Extra gym time being dependent “on active engagement with rehabilitation”
  • Restricted privileges
  •  Depending on their behaviour prisoners will later be put on either basic or standard “IEP level”
  • Those on basic level will not have any TVs cells

Existing prisoners will keep their privileges unless their status is reviewed. The only thing everybody will lose are cable and satellite TV.

The privilege scheme for female prisoners is still not ready.

According to Ben Gunn, who spent 32 years in prison for murder, the decision of Mr. Grayling was putting newly incarcerated people at risk as these were most vulnerable in their first weeks in jail so they could harm themselves.

Prison Reform Trust director Juliet Lyon shared his opinion that government had to “focus on employment and skills training, on making sure people have safe housing to go to and that they have good contact with their family.”

Not long ago MPs announced that the major part of the prisoners in Scotland’s jails preferred to watch TV instead of taking part in any activities.

 

Scientist Sent to Jail for Test Results Falsifying

The 47 years old scientist Steven Eaton was convicted of falsifying the test results in a research for anti-cancer drugs and due to this he was sent to jail for three months.

In 2009 he was working for pharmaceutical firm Aptuit, when he falsified test results hoping to make Aptuit allow him begin trials on human cancer patients. Hopefully the company has all corporate documents in place.

If he had had success with his plans, the health of cancer patients would have been threatened.

When Aptuit officials found out what was happening they immediately reported Eaton to the Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the UK’s regulator for medicines.

It was proved that Eaton had been selectively reporting data from as far back as 2003.

Because of the misreported data he used to give, sponsors had to pay extra cost of studies.

This man was the first to be jailed under the 1999 Good Laboratory Practice Regulations, and only the second to be prosecuted under the legislation as the maximum sentence he could receive was a three-month prison sentence.

Sheriff O’Gardy regretted he did not have the power to give orders for a tougher sentence as these actions could have harmed seriously cancer patients.

“Why someone who is as highly educated and as experienced as you would embark on such a course of conduct is inexplicable.”

Gerald Heddell from the MHRA said: “The sentence sends a message that we will not hesitate to prosecute those whose actions have the potential to harm public health.”