Law Firms Warned on Debt Recovery

SRA  is now dealing with ensuring law firms, involved with debt recovery work, have proper control over what is being done in their name. Many law companies dealing with this matter have been warned, as the authority has noticed that cases, where solicitors working with debt recovery companies are in danger of breaching the Code of Conduct have increased.

Solicitors, dealing with two different cases, who failed to maintain their independence have been handed out fines and costs orders, counting over £140,000. Many other law firms have received a warning note, letting them know advising firms on putting their independence at risk, or being involved in overly aggressive or misleading correspondence

David Middleton, SRA executive director for post-enforcement, said: ‘While we are committed to working constructively with firms, we will take enforcement action against regulated persons who fail to address the issues and risks associated with debt recovery work. We expect firms to ensure they supervise all work their name is attached to.’

The first case referred to a solicitor, working with a debt recovery company, whose nature of arrangement was found irresponsible and resulted in a breach of his duties. The solicitor was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay costs of £35,000.

In our opinion, it is very important to have all necessary legal documents in place, and what is more, in cases like this it is advisable to request a document, drafted especially for you.

In the second case, the relationship between the solicitor and the debt recovery company was compromising his integrity and independence. The arrangement meant the solicitor had recklessly misled the court by facilitating the conduct of litigation by the debt recovery company.The solicitor was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay costs of £50,000.

 

Ofgem to Receive New Powers After Fears of Energy Market Rigging

With the aim to stop the manipulation of the energy market the energy regulator Ofgem will receive new powers which will lead to lots of changes.

After many people expressed their concerns that providers and financial institutions may be rigging the energy prices, now Ofgem will be able to inspect company premises and obtain potentially incriminating data, including a wide variety of legal documents.

In case it finds something wrong it would be able to fine the perpetrators.

The energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey will soon announce the new powers to the Parliament. These come as a consequence of the Libor scandal where banks were misreported to lend to one another trying to rig the system.

This led to fears about similar manipulation in the energy markets where the prices of oil, gas and energy may also be rigged so that the speculators may earn money on the shoulders of the average consumer.

Many say that reports may show what the current situation is, but in fact they may also be counterfeited and in he end consumers are deceived again.

One of the price-reporting agencies received a report with false data so that Ofgem and the Financial Services Authority conducted an investigation.

According to the European Commission the Remit legislation has to be adopted till the end of this month.

In order to get all the possible details of any attempted market manipulation EC authorities would ask for reports from companies of their buying and selling activities relating to oil, gas and power.

 

More Legal Aid Cuts – New Changes Planned

As the government aims at slashing a further £220m from the cost of criminal legal aid today they launched a new consultation.

It turned out that the legal aid changes introduced by the LASPO Act were not enough so now the government is about to put forward plans according to which the access of prisoners to legal aid will be more limited and people with income of over £37,500 will not receive legal aid automatically. The good news is that The Legal Stop will continue to supply you with high quality employment documents.

The new plans will make convicted criminals repay the costs for their defense with deductions from the money they are going to earn in future, in case they work in accordance with the employment legislation and have an employment contract.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said of the notion: “Those who live outside the law should pay the consequences both through being punished and bearing more of the costs they impose on society. That is why we are exploring ways to make criminals pay towards the cost of their prosecution to the court.”

Another proposal that was announced is that legal aid contracts should be introduced, as the government presumes that this will reduce the number of firms which provide these services.

The intention of the government is to limit the number of law firms which offer such assistance as now it is about 1,600.

However the Law Society of England and Wales opposed to this suggestion. According to Law Society president Lucy Scott-Moncrieff  ”It will take much longer to do properly,…and if it’s not done properly then we are going to end up with miscarriages of justice, with people being stuck in prison far longer than they should be on remand, with witnesses not turning up, with cases not being properly prepared. It’s a huge, huge risk.”

This was not the only proposal she was worried about. In her words immigrants should not be denied legal aid as this should not be a thing which depended on the status of a certain person in the country but on their needs.

 

 

 

Criminal Records Bureau Checks To Be Relaxed

Due to the new changes to laws announced by the Home Office if job applicants want to succeed they will have to disclose to their employers their past criminal activity.

These changes had to be made after the decision of the Court of Appeal that the criminal record checks done now were not compatible with human rights laws.

The results from the legislation which is about to start functioning soon will be the decreased number of serious convictions being filtered from checks because of the elapsed time. When 11 years have passed after adult convictions which resulted in a non-custodial sentence they will now be filtered. The number of years for adults’ cautions is 6.

Young offenders’ convictions will be filtered after five and a half years for non-custodial sentences, and 2 years for cautions.

Nowadays certain employees such as doctors and teachers for example require the criminal records checks which are carried out by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

CRB used to be responsible about these checks but under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 DBS took over their work.

In spite of the changes, convictions for serious violent and sexual offences will continue being disclosed by the DBS.

According to the Minister for Criminal Information, these changes were needed in order to “[strike] a balance between ensuring that children and vulnerable groups are protected and avoiding intrusion into people’s lives.”

It all started from a job applicant who was not allowed to work part time at a football club because of police cautions. The reason for these cautions appeared to be the two bicycles he stole when he was 11 years old.

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