Many Jurors Confused by Contempt Rules Regarding Internet Use

According to a recent report, about 16 percent of the asked jurors think they were not supposed to go online at all whilst serving on a jury. By the way, mentioning Internet usage related to work, do you have a Computer, Email and Internet policy?

Professor Cheryl Thomas from the University College London (UCL) Faculty of Laws carried out the research believing it would help giving evidence of understanding of the rules of contempt among the jurors in England and Wales. The questioned ones were juries from Crown Courts.

About five percent of the asked people shared that in their opinion there were no restrictions on the Internet sites they may open while on a trial and two percent said they thought they could use Internet only in order to get some information connected to the current case.

Only one percent shared they used the Internet in order to find information about the convicted ones or some of the other people involved in the crime. Some even mentioned they searched at Streetview because they wanted to see the exact location of the place where the crime had happened.

Professor Thomas said: “These findings show that the vast majority of jurors understand and follow the rules on how jurors can use new media during trial, but the message is not getting through and is confusing to a significant minority.”

In his opinion, this research could be helpful to juries from the whole country, as most of the respondents had approved it.

On the other hand, 82 per cent of them shared that they needed more information on how to lead their deliberations.

Overseas UK Pensions ‘Blocked for Spouses’

The government plans to stop giving the British state pension based solely on the work history of a spouse, to people living abroad.

According to the pensions Minister Steve Webb many of those have claimed a married person’s allowance had never in fact lived in the UK. The Legal Stop advises to enable yourself with a good retirement policy template, in order to arrange this matter.

This payment costs the UK about of £410m a year as those who receive it are about  220,000 residents living overseas.

This proposal will be announced in the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday. People who currently get this pension will not be affected.

For the future the money pensioners will receive will be based on their personal contributions during their individual working life.

Nowadays spouses are allowed to claim a “married person’s allowance” of up to £66 per week based on their husband or wife’s history.

The number of people who live overseas but are married to British citizens rises all the time and these are usually the people who claim such pensions.

Mr Webb told the Daily Telegraph:

“Say you are an American man and you marry a British woman, you can claim, if she has a full record of contributions, a pension of £3,500 a year for your entire retirement having never paid a penny in National Insurance.”

In he words of Norman Cudmore, this decision of the government is not loyal as he had served in the RAF for 22 years and worked overseas for another 16 years. Now he lived in the Philippines with his Filipina wife hoping she would receive some money in case he passed away.

The people who nowadays pay into a second state pension will lose their money as it will be abolished.

Tom McPhail, head of pensions research at Hargreaves Lansdown, said:

“From 2016 onwards the state pension will be based entirely on your individual record and there will be no inheritance of state pension rights,” he said.

 

 

UK Unemployment Rises

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced that between December and February the unemployment in the UK has risen up to 2.56 million. Many people have been made redundant, hopefully their employers had a redundancy policy.

Those who claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance last month were 1.53 million which means 7,000 less than before. There is no reliable data on how many employment contracts have been signed up for the same period.

Another thing ONS stated was that average earnings in the year to February mark the lowest growth rate since 2009.

In the latest quarter of February the number of people in work fell to just under 30 million.

Statistics also showed that 900,000 people have been out of work for more than a year and that the number of 16-24-year-olds with no job rose by 20,000 to 979,000

The data point a 62,000 fall in the number of people in part-time jobs and an increase by 60,000 in full-time employment.

Alan Clarke, economist at Scotia bank, said: “It’s not a disaster, but a lot of the froth and really good news we had over the last year on jobs is becoming exhausted, which shouldn’t be a surprise when there is not much growth around.”

Employment minister Mark Hoban said they would not stop helping jobseekers.

The number of JA claimers in whole England, Wales and Scotland has fallen having in mind that the number of new claims was at its lowest level for more than four years.

The number of young people claiming JA is down by 2,800 on the month, and is 65,400 lower than last year.

As usually there are many people criticizing the decision of the UK government. These claim that the government has to think over reining back its austerity plan.

Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB union, said: “The chancellor should heed IMF advice to change course to grow the economy to end this needless waste of human talent.”

 

Ealing Council’s ‘Foster to Avoid Benefits Cut’ Call Condemned

Many people fostering a child received leaflets telling them to avoid losing benefits in case they have empty bedrooms. This move of the London council was criticized severely.

The government plans which started functioning from 1 April promise housing benefit cut for those social housing tenants who have a spare bedroom.

The deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was the person who first expressed his discontent.

The explanation of the council was that foster care applicants would be investigated and if financial gain turned out to be their main aim they will not be approved.

When the deputy prime minister took part in the weekly radio phone-in on LBC 97.3, a caller who called herself Lisa shared that she had received a letter of those mentioned above which suggested that she could “subsidize” the loss by taking in a foster child.

The opinion of Mr. Clegg was that this would not help people solve their money problems and cover the £14-a-week cut in benefit.

“I think it is not right for Ealing Council to take what was an exemption that we announced a couple of weeks ago when we said foster families will not be covered by this and then to use that locally to say ‘why don’t you turn yourself into a foster family?’,” he said.

The Ealing Council spokeswoman said that according to them welfare benefit changes may and will prevent many people who thought of becoming foster parents, from taking children.

She explained that they have sent these leaflets in order to inform foster families about the changes. She added: “We have a very rigorous assessment process and if financial gain was the sole motivation the applicant would not be approved.”

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