Father of Clare Wood Calls for Rollout of Domestic Violence Law

After the murder of Clare Wood by her ex-partner, her father insists that the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) has to be rolled out across the UK.

This scheme would make it possible for everyone to get in touch with the police and check if their partner has in the past had any abusive offences.

Greater Manchester, Nottinghamshire, Gwent, and Wiltshire are already trying the scheme. Аlso, please check out Health and Safety -HR documents.

The number of disclosure applications the police has received recently is significant. Their number is 102 for Wiltshire and only 39 for Gwent.

According to Michael Brown, Clare Wood’s father, this large number of applications meant people needed the change.

“At present the trial is only being used in four counties, but in those counties we are having anything up to 100 applications so far,” he said. “If you multiply that by the number of police forces in England and Wales, that’s somewhere in the region of 4,300 people a year being helped.”

The man who killed Clare Wood had in the past committed many violent and abusive offences against women. Ms Wood’s father believes Clare’s law would have saved the life of his daughter, as at that time she had no way to find out about the past acts of her partner.   Polly Neate, from the Women’s Aid charity, commented that in her view Clare’s Law would not be helpful to most of the victims of domestic violence.

“Many perpetrators of domestic violence do not have a previous conviction, so a woman might find out that her partner does not have a previous conviction but that doesn’t always mean he isn’t dangerous.”

In the words of policing minister Damian Green the government had set aside £40m in order to cope with domestic sexual violence.


Government Rolls Out New Benefit Cap

England, Scotland and Wales are introducing an upper limit on working age benefits.

The benefits per week for couples and single parents will be £500 and those for single people will be £350.

What is included in this cap are things like jobseeker’s allowance, child benefit and housing benefit.

These changes are a part of the plan of the current government to discourage people living only on benefits and make them find jobs.

In case people who are already at work need to claim benefits they should know the changes will not affect them.

According to many critics these changes would not improve the situation in any way as they claim there are many people who want to find a place to work but these are not enough for everybody. By the way, don`t forget to check our employment documents.

Another thing the government was accused of was its unsuccessful trial to take into account the differences in living costs in different regions mainly talking about rent prices.

However, the work and pension secretary Duncan Smith said that the cap is based on the average household income.

“It ensures the taxpayer can have trust in the welfare system,” he said, “and it stops sky-high claims that make it impossible for people to move into work.”

In his view this limit will become a good reason for most people to start looking for a proper job.

Four London boroughs claim that the scheme is not well-developed and there would be many

problems in implementing it.

Many families are afraid they would be moved to areas with lower housing prices and because of this they could be forced out of their communities.



EU referendum: MPs call for public to have their say

Conservative MPs try to persuade the public that they need to give their votes in a referendum on whether Britain should remain in the European Union.

James Wharton proposed that such thing has to be voted by 2017 and the first time his proposal has been debated 304 MPs backed it.

Right after David Cameron found out the results of the vote he wrote on Twitter: “Referendum Bill passes first Commons stage, bringing us one step closer to giving the British people a say on Europe.”

Despite the results, which raised people’s hopes there are still many who will certainly oppose to the bill.

Ken Clarke, Sir Richard Shepherd, Jason McCartney, Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Gary Streeter were the only Conservative MPs who decided not to vote. Many companies might be affected by the result, as many corporate documents will be required if any changes occur.

When starting the debate Mr. Wharton said his bill would allow UK citizens decide the future of their country.  He mentioned that a good example of what he had said were the referendums held in Wales and Scotland.

“We have had so many referendums on so many things,” he said. “It would seem to be farcical to deny a say on such an important thing which matters to so many people.”

William Hague asked all the true democrats to support this bill as it would definitely lead to referendum.

However, Mr. Alexander called this referendum an obsession and stated it was unrealistic.

Because of the Lib Dem opposition, the promise of the prime minister of a referendum by the end of 2017, cannot be accomplished.

Bills proposed by private members have to be backed by the government, otherwise they cannot become laws.

According to UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage if the campaign of the referendum is a good one many people would give their votes.


Housing Benefit Cuts Caused Debt Spiral

According to recent study, the housing benefit cut led to a debt spiral fro thousands of families in Merseyside.

The changes a.k.a the “bedroom tax” were announced in April and since then over 14 000 residents are now in rent arrears. The housing benefit cut aims at recipients, whose property has a bedroom, which is deemed to be surplus to requirements. May be at some point they will be forced to take loans and sign loan agreements in order to ensure they have somewhere to live.

By doing so, the government is trying to free up larger properties, so that families, who live in homes, too small for their needs could move into them.

It sounds good, however there is a lack of small properties, which can be hired by the “under occupiers”, which leads to additional expenditures for many peple, which puts them into a difficult financial situation.

The NHF (The National Housing Federation) collected information from 18 social  landlords in Merseyside and found out that almost 26,500 households were affected by the recent cuts, but there were only 155 smaller houses available for those people.

Chief executive of the National Housing Federation, David Orr, commented: “The fact is there aren’t enough smaller social homes in Merseyside for people to avoid the bedroom tax, even if they wanted to move.”

A Department of Work and Pensions spokesman, however, said: “We always monitor the impact of our policies carefully but there is no conclusive evidence that people affected by our housing benefit reforms are not getting the help they need.”


David Cameron ‘warned he cannot stop pay rise for MPs’

BBC found out that the Prime Minister David Cameron will most probably not succeed to block plans for a big pay rise for MPs.

The salaries of the backbench MPs’ are expected to increase from £66,000 to more than £70,000.

PM did not agree with these plans but he could do nothing to stop these.

In the words of the BBC’s political editor the recommendation of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority’s (Ipsa) would make voters angry because the time was such of pay restraints in the public as well as in the private sectors.

Later this month Ipsa is going to announce its initial recommendations. Before it publishes them. MPs and members of the public would be given the possibility to participate in a consultation and right after it finishes the final plans would come into force.

Several newspapers published that the expected increase of backbench MPs salaries is of 15%. Obviously many business documents will be signed before we see it working, but let`s see what the PM thinks.

Speaking in Pakistan, Mr Cameron said:

“Anything would be unthinkable unless the cost of politics was frozen and cut, so I’ll wait and see what Ipsa have to say. What I said to Ipsa was that restraint is necessary.”

Nick Robinson said that in case the government decided to ignore Ipsa’s recommendations MPs would not support its decision.

Last year the Commons agreed to extend the pay freeze into 2013.

However, due to an anonymous online survey 69% of the MPs who were asked were underpaid. They suggested an average salary of £86,250.

Former Labour minister and chairman of the Home Affairs select committee Keith Vaz said: “The last thing on earth MPs should be talking about is their own pay.”


Politicians Accused of Seeking Revenge Against Press

According to a statement of Lords Stevens of Ludgate the motives of politicians and celebrities for changes in the laws concerning press are probably not that noble.
His report suggested that there should be a new independent body regulating the press.

The coalition government is never able to reach a common decision- David Cameron disagreed to the idea of changes in press regulation, while the Liberal Democrats and Labour supported the proposal of law changes.

The peer of the UK Independence Party, Lord Stevens, claims MP’s and peers think of the recommended changes as of an opportunity for revenge, “to get back at the press for disclosing all their shenanigans over expenses”.

He was also interested on the motives of celebrities to apply for stricter press control.

“Since the press holds the Government to account, the Government clearly must not regulate newspapers,” Lord Stevens said.

The independent editor Chris Blackhurst also thought that if politics decide on the making of a new legislation to regulate press this will be only because they want to revenge the press.

“Once a draft Bill goes into the Commons and the Lords and once they get their teeth into it they can add all sorts of amendments,” Blackhurst said ominously. “That’s where the revenge will happen. That’s one reason why some of us are very keen that there should not be statute.” The view of Lord Stevens was different from that of the other peers.

The former deputy PM, Lord Prescott said:“The industry have used the same old trick, you delay it in discussion and get near the election and avoid doing anything about it.”

No matter what will happen with the bill, The Legal Stop will continue to provide you with legal documents online.


A Consultation on Electoral Reform Was Announced

As the UK law is considered to be fragmented and outdated the Law Commission for England and Wales appointed a meeting on which it will suffer some changes. The voting system for general elections, however, will not be a part of this reform.

In connection with this announcement, this very same Commission published a report, seeking opinions for a number of different learned respondents as for example the Government, public bodies and members of the public.

This meeting is due to be hold in late 2014, and the report announcing its results should be published in summer 2015.

It will cover many different areas of the law related to the rules about the announcement of the results of elections, about technical electoral administration, the methods of voting, and rules on candidates and campaigning.

The law has not been changed in a significant way since 1872 and the recommended changes now will try to modernize it making it simpler and more flexible.

The aspects of the law, which will not be discussed covers the rules on who can vote in elections and the voting systems used. Such changes were debated much but last year a UK-wide referendum was held and the question in matter was whether general elections should continue to use the “first-past-the-post” system.

After the referendum, the Commission decided not to include these areas in the consultation, claiming they would be “best left to democratic or political consensus”.

Different voting methods will be considered at the consultation but new methods as online voting probably will not be mentioned. According to a report from 2010 almost 40% of the internet users in the UK answered they would prefer to vote in the General Election if the option to vote online had been available.

Respondents to the consultant were on the contrary opinion- they insisted on consideration of new voting methods.

“The complexity and sheer scale of the existing framework for electoral law puts at risk the credibility of our electoral process,” said Frances Patterson QC, from the Law Commission. “The price we pay as a democracy when the electoral process loses credibility is high and potentially catastrophic.

“Our consultees have told us, with one voice, that the law is in need of reform.”

While the Government is discussing the new changes, you can take advantage on our corporate legal documents. 

Police and Crime Commissioner Elections

The polls for the police and crime commissioner elections are open and all people from England and Wales, except London where the Metropolitan Police is already overseen by mayor Boris Johnson and the Home Secretary, are able to vote until 10pm tonight (15.11.2012-Thursady). Labour and the Conservatives putting forward a candidate in all 41 areas and the results are due on Friday morning.

According to the UK government these elections will serve for the better of UK nation, by making policing more accountable to the public. The newly elected commissioners, who will take the post on 22 November,  will be given the power to set budgets and hire and fire chief constables, however running day-to-day operations will not be included in their responsibilities.

In cases when there is not a single candidate to get the majority of votes, the first top two candidates go to a second round, until one of them is chosen.

Although ministers promote the benefits of the commissioners and say they will cost no more than the existing police authorities, opponents consider the move as a waste of money, especially in such a complicated financial situation.

There are also concerns that the turnout may be very low, with former Home Secretary David Blunkett saying it could be as low as 15%, which would not give “proper legitimacy” to the winners.

Current shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said: “The government, as well as choosing to have the elections in November when they could have waited until May, have simply not provided people with proper information.”

Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps leapt to the defence of the election, saying: “I think it is really important that people know a figurehead, a name of a person that they can turn to when they are concerned about crime and anti-social behaviour in their area. They want to know why the police are costing money on their council tax bill.”This is somebody who will be directly accountable to them for the very first time.”

No matter if the crimi commissioner elections are beneficial or not, you can always save some money with our free legal documents.


EAW Opt-Out Plan

A proposal from the government has revealed that it intends to opt out around 130 EU measures for criminal justice, one of which includes the European arrest warrant (EAW). As a result, legal professions from across the entire UK have united and have asked for public consultation regarding the government’s proposal.

It was reported that during his trade visit in Brazil last week, Prime Minister David Cameron had mentioned that the government intentions regarding the criminal justice measures and said that the opt-out powers will be exercised by the end of this year.

Law societies across the UK have expressed concerns that the new proposal will make impossible the fight against cross-border crime. According to the Law societies in England and Wales, Scotland, North Ireland and the Bar council, the new reform will also threaten the law and order in the United Kingdom. The deadline for the government to make a decision about the proposal is end of May 2014. By this date, the government must inform the European Commission whether or not it will opt out the 1992 Treaty of Maastricht EU criminal justice measures.

Scott-Moncrieff, president of Law Society of England and Wales, commented on the government decision to remove EU criminal measures from the UK and expressed a concern that this may have even greater implications. The EU measures for criminal justice are mostly procedural and are enforced so that there is an established co-operation between different members of state, which all aim to fight cross-border crime. According to Law society president, the government must seek views from experienced practitioners and engage in a consultation process that is transparent to the public as well.

According to Bar chief Michael Todd QC, the government expects to save money by outing out from the EU criminal measures. However, he also stated that the government opt-out only relates to those measures which were established before the Treaty of Lisbon (2009). He stated that this may lead to even greater confusion and higher costs. Bar chief Todd supports the statement that of the government decides to put this plan into action, the law and order in the UK will be directly threatened. According to Todd, there is enough time for the government to consult with the public on this issue. It is through transparent consultation that the government could properly assess what impact the changes will have.  Todd also mentioned that if the government decides to go for the opt out plan, it might soon seek to opt back into the EU criminal justice measures in order to fight against cross-border crime. The president of the Law Society of Scotland, Austin Lafferty supported the words by Todd and also claimed that the government’s plan will cause confusion and lead to greater costs should it opt back in to some of the criminal measures. Law Society of Northern Ireland president Imelda McMillan also added that if the government does not consult with the public on this important issue, this will raise further concern in the legal profession not only in the UK, but across Europe as well.

At The Legal Stop, we do not specialise in criminal law, however, we can provide you with highest quality legal documents- employment contracts, shareholders agreements, legal agreements and much more.


Planning Laws Relaxation – Good or Bad

The government has made a move, which hopefully will boost the economics.  Today a temporary relaxation of planning laws has been announced.

The home-owners will now be able to construct extensions into their gardens (up-to-8m-long), without being necessary to go through the whole procedure of acquiring a planning permission from their local council. This relaxation will be valid for until the next year. This relaxation will be valid for business as well, because the government is determined to apply all necessary methods in order to give the economy a push.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “This government means business in delivering plans to help people build new homes and kick-start the economy.

“We’re determined to cut through the bureaucracy that holds us back. That starts with getting the planners off our backs, getting behind the businesses that have the ambition to expand and meeting the aspirations of families that want to buy or improve a home.”

However on the other hand the Local Government Association has questioned the idea that planning laws are holding back development. Accordiing to the Association the planning laws do not cost that much time and are not a significant obstacle, when it comes to building, as the records show there are about 400,000 prospective homes, which have not yet been built.

The relaxation of the planning laws allow extension of  up to 8m for detached houses and 6m for the rest. Businesses are given the right to extend shops by 100 square meters and industrial units by 200 square meters.

Labour opposed the government`s plans and attacked it by saying
“With our economy in a double-dip recession and a serious housing crisis, the Government are kidding themselves if they think these announcements are up to the scale of the challenge.
“The fundamental problem is not the planning system or Section 106 agreements for much needed affordable housing, it is the lack of confidence and demand in the economy, slashed public investment and the Government’s failing economic plan.” (Rachel Reeves)

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